How Long Does It Take To Break the Flea Life Cycle

Fleas reproduce at a rapid rate, and only hot or freezing temperatures can kill them comprehensively.

Fleas have four stages in their life cycle: eggs, larva, pupae, and adult – they lay up to 50 eggs per day especially in areas where pets live and sleep.

So, you’re wondering, how long does it take to break the flea life cycle?

  • In summary, fleas will take at 1 to 2 months before every stage in the flea’s development cycle has been completed. Flea prevention and control will stop new adults from developing.

Details: How Long Does It Take To Break the Flea Life Cycle?

After mating and taking her first blood meal, a female flea lays eggs at the rate of one per hour for up to five weeks – this is her whole life.

  • Indigenous to the Aegean and Middle Eastern regions, an adult female flea requires four to six blood meals before she can lay 50 eggs.
  • Most of these eggs will hatch within a week but some may take up to two weeks. The larvae that emerge from their shells will often wriggle around looking for a dark spot in which they can hide.
  • Once they find a suitable spot, the larvae will then form cocoons around themselves and pupate for up to two weeks before emerging as adult flea.

During pupation, the flea cocoon may wait for a suitable; this can be for weeks or up to months.

If the fleas notice pressure, carbon dioxide, vibration, or heat, they’ll sense the presence of a potential host; they’ll emerge and jump onto the host to suck blood.

  • This is why, if you have kids or pets living in your home, it’s important to vacuum often and make sure all carpets are steam-cleaned at least once every year.

It is important to know that these eggs can survive cold winters – it may take several days of extreme heat or freezing temperatures in order to kill them off completely.

Flea eggs are tiny and will readily fall off their host when the dog or cat is in motion. If you’ve got a social pet, you can bet that fleas will occupy your family or living room floor.

The flea life cycle typically doesn’t take long to break once you notice your dog is infested.

How do you break the flea cycle?

You can look for fleas on the pet’s bedding. Flea larvae are difficult to find, but visible if found.

Flea eggs and larvae are all white but flea dirt (feces) will be black. The pet’s bedding will seem like it’s sprinkled with pepper and salt.

Besides, you know your animal has a flea infestation when you see irritated skin. Fleas usually bite exposed areas such as feet and calves in children.

  • Adult fleas make up less than 5-percent of the entire flea population. The other 99 percent are pupae, larvae, and eggs.
  • Once adult fleas are detected in your spaces, the cycle has already begun and actively progressing.
  • For example, in just 2 weeks, over 400 eggs could hatch! Also, flea infestations may be carried indoors by pets, dust, or wind.

So, once you notice signs of fleas on your property, follow these five ways immediately to break the life cycle.

The flea life cycle is broken when the eggs are not allowed to hatch. Here are 5 ways to stop the flea cycle in its tracks:

1. Vacuum Thoroughly

If you are allergic to bites, it is important that your house be well vacuumed and cleaned regularly.

This will remove eggs as well as adult fleas from carpets, upholstery, and other surfaces where they may hide or lay their eggs.

Vacuum thoroughly with a vacuum that has an attachment/ extension for removing particles from cracks and crevices; this breaks the life cycle and stops the flea problem in its tracks.

Freeze vacuuming bags for 24 hours before disposing of them. Also, keep the surrounding area clean by picking up food spills immediately so that they do not become a flea food source.

Vacuum your pet’s bedding and brush their fur, specifically the areas where they sleep.

How long it takes to break the flea life cycle varies depending on what type of pet you have and what environment they tend to sleep in.

  • Dogs and cats that take to sleeping in their own beds will make your life a little easier, as you can easily wash down the bedding.
  • Vacuum your bedding before you move it (killing eggs and larvae) or an infestation is sure to be waiting in your carpet.

Vacuuming is not a sure-fire way to get rid of fleas in all their stages. However, it will trap eggs and flea dirt, which are the larvae’s main sources of food.

2. Wash Pet Bedding

Vacuuming your pet’s bedding is an important step to end the flea cycle, but you need to be sure that you vacuum wherever they typically rest.

It’s the flea larvae and eggs that develop in your pet’s bed (or sofa, and other pet’s sleeping locations), not the adult fleas.

The eggs of adult fleas fall off your pet, and the majority will end up where it spends most of its time – wherever you pet sleeps.

Along with the adult fleas, you will need to treat your pet and its bedding for legless larvae as well. Flea larvae eat flea poop from adult fleas and thus they’ll find enough food on the pet’s bed.


If possible, it is a good idea to wash any fabric pets rest on (area rug, pillows, pet’s bedding) with hot water (recommended temperature) and a suitable detergent.

Wash pet bedding in a separate load with hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit) and detergent.

  • Wash pet bedding in a separate load.
  • For best results, put a dryable dog or cat bedding in a hot dryer for 20 minutes (hottest setting)before washing it.

Tumble dry it or air out the clothes for30 minutes to kill any fleas before putting them away again.

You can help break the flea life cycle by steam cleaning any furniture, and other items, that cannot be washed.

3. Use Flea Killers

a. Flea Prevention & Treatment

Flea Prevention

Flea prevention is the best flea treatment because it not only kills adult fleas but also destroys newly hatched larvae before they have a chance to feed and grow into adults.

The best flea prevention is a topical product, applied monthly to your pet’s coat or skin.

  • Topical treatments are the only way to kill newly hatched larvae before they have time to feed on blood and grow into adults that lay eggs of their own in your home.

Flea Treatment

Flea killers come in a variety of forms.

Some are spot-on products, like Advantage II and Frontline Plus; others come as sprays or shampoos for pets’ coats or carpets.

The most effective flea killers contain the insecticide permethrin (found in some brands of Pet Armor).

Good flea treatment will prevent pets from becoming long-term flea hosts.

  • In general, killing adult fleas with topical treatment is not enough. You need to destroy their eggs or larvae too if you want them gone for good.

b. Flea Foggers

Foggers, particularly those with Insect Growth Regulator (IGR), are a popular way to kill fleas.

With an IGR-containing fogger, fleas don’t lay eggs for up to 6-12 months.

The downside is that you have to treat your house with a permethrin product or other insecticide after the foggers are gone if you want it really clean of flea larvae and adults.

They work by releasing insecticides that remain in the air for hours and evaporate into the environment, killing adult bugs on contact and breaking up their eggs wherever they land.

However, foggers have downsides too: they can be dangerous if used improperly or when people are in the house, and they tend not to be as effective at killing flea larvae.

c. Flea Baths

Fleas can also be killed off with baths or wet vacuums, but these methods are only useful if you catch them early in their life cycle before they have had a chance to reproduce.

A bath will knock off the flea’s exoskeleton, either killing it or making it too weak to bite.

You can also take a wet vacuum and suck up any adults that have fallen off of your pet while they are rolling around on the floor after their bath.

A good time for this is when you’re giving them those little baths.

Do fleas eventually die off, Alone? Fleas to die without a host?

Flea pupae are protected in cocoons as they grow into adult fleas. If there is no host, the pupae can stay safe and hidden for a long time.

The fleas come out when they think a new host is there. They can tell by sensing carbon dioxide, warmth, and movement – synonymous with living beings.

Dog fleas and cat fleas consider humans to be poor hosts and they lack hiding areas like hair or fur.

When there’s no pet in the vicinity, the flea lifecycle is not perpetuated.

  • The fleas will eventually die off as they can’t take a blood meal from people to produce eggs.
  • It is, however, possible that fleas will bite humans in the house until a pet (suitable host) emerges.

If a pet that is not treated for fleas goes into your house, then the flea can jump onto the pet and start sucking blood (within 24 hours).

So, if the pet will perpetuate the flea lifecycle or they can do this onto any new location they’ve moved to.

Fleas typically will die off- but not always.

  • So, as long as you keep up with the regular grooming and vacuuming of your pets or if you have an in-home extermination service that takes care of these unwanted visitors (that come out whenever it starts raining outside) then your household should be pest-free.

For human fleas, pets aren’t needed to perpetuate their lifecycle and thus they’ll grow uninterrupted if flea killers aren’t used.

  • For human fleas, they will die off too as long as you use a good insecticide or if your outside area is treated with an insect repellent to kill them off when it rains and for other outdoor activities where there are high concentrations of people in one location

Waiting for cat and dog fleas to die off is both a tedious task and an unpleasant one.

Homeowners prefer using flea killers like FRONTLINE® HomeGard that’ll prevent flea larvae and eggs from developing into adults for about 12 months; truly breaking the lifecycle of these bugs.

What can kill fleas instantly or 24 Hours?

Boric acid kills fleas by dehydrating them, while botanical pesticides suffocate larvae when they crawl on surfaces coated with boric acid.

Here are instructions on how to kill fleas instantly:

a. Flea eggs

Flea eggs are tough to kill because growing larvae can hatch even in the absence of a host or food source, but it is possible!

Use some boric acid (a desiccant) mixed with soap shavings to create an abrasive paste that you’ll spread over surfaces where flea eggs might be.

  • The desiccant being anything that’ll dry it out such as boric acid, or diatomaceous earth.
  • Boric acid is a crystalline, odorless, and tasteless powder that’s usually mixed with a carrier or excipient such as soap, flour, or sugar to make it easier to apply in the home.
  • Mix boric acid with some botanical pesticide (plus the carrier) and sprinkle over your carpeting or furniture and fabric.

Boric acid is a poison to fleas due to its dehydrating qualities; it will weaken them by making their exoskeleton too dry for comfort of movement.

b. Larval stage

This (boric acid + botanical pesticide) also exterminates the larval stage when they’re crawling on the desiccant-covered surfaces.

  • The flea larvae will ingest this boric acid and die.
  • Everything that’s boron-based will enter the larvae’s digestive system and disrupt its digestive system and kill them.

Flea larva and pupae can be killed with a pyrethroid insecticide; something like deltamethrin or permethrin will work well here.

You’ll need to sprinkle them directly on the surface they’re living in which is why vacuum-cleaning is such a big part of getting rid of flea infestations.

c. Flea pupae

This is when the fleas have span a cocoon and hence are highly impervious.

To kill the fleas in this pupae stage, you’ll need some very harsh pesticides that’ll wet everything.

  • To stop flea pupae quickly, use a household treatment and make them to hatch using vacuum cleaner vibrations.
  • Once the pupae have come out of their cocoon, they will die instantly if in contact the harsh pesticide.

Flea larvae qualifies as the toughest flea stage to exterminate.

d. Adult Fleas

Adult fleas will only live for seven to ten days and you can kill them with anything that has pyrethrin such as EcoSmart.

Any fleas that’ll emerge from the cocoons later will require to spray an adulticide in 1-2 weeks.

In order to kill fleas instantly, you should use an insecticide which contains a knockdown agent such as permethrin and also includes IGRs like Precor IGR – the best way to break their cycle.

If a pet has fleas, the answer is using a borax and flea collar.


On how long does it take to break the flea life cycle; Fleas can take about 1-2 months before every phase of their development cycle has completed.

  • Using a flea preventive or control will stop new adults from developing and prevent reproduction.
  • IGRs inhibit the development of eggs and larvae so they’re not able to mature into adult fleas.
  • Further, boron-based such as boric acid (a notable desiccant)will kill fleas instantly or within 24 hours by drying them out; this includes the eggs, and larvae stages.
  • For pupae and adult stages, use pyrethrin-based pesticides combined with IGRs such as Precor IGR.

That’s it!

Drop a comment below to let me know what you think about these tips!

Recent Posts

We are compensated for referring traffic and business to Amazon Services LLC Associates Program linked to on this site