Can Fleas Live In Floorboards? How To Find And Kill Them

by | Fleas, Insects

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Fleas are small, fastmoving pests that give horrible, itchy bites. It’s common for fleas to hide in carpets, pet beds and furniture, but can they live in wood floorboards? I did a little research and found out that…

Fleas can live in wood floorboards for several days or weeks without blood to drink. The area between floorboards is warm, dark, humid, and safe – making it the perfect place for fleas to live until an animal walks past that they can jump onto.

Luckily, it’s possible to get rid of these nasty critters from floorboards if you know where they hide, how to find them, and how to get rid of them without professional help.

In this post, we’ll explore:

  • How fleas survive in floorboards (and where)
  • How to find fleas in floorboards
  • How to get rid of fleas in floorboards step by step
  • How long it takes to get rid of fleas

How fleas live in floorboards

Fleas are designed to attach themselves to the skin of an animal and suck its blood, where they remain hidden in the fur and safe from harm. Most fleas are brought into the home on one of these host animals, such as a pet dog or cat.

Dog lying on wood floor that might have fleas
Fleas are usually brought into the home on a pet dog or cat, called a “host”.

When fleas fall accidentally onto a wood floor from a host, there’s nothing to attach to and they feel exposed, so they crawl into any gaps they can find between and underneath the floorboards, baseboards, trims, and corners. This is especially common with boards that are swollen and cracked from being exposed to moisture.

More commonly, animals drop flea eggs onto the floor as they move along (which is often how fleas spread in a house). Under the right conditions, these eggs hatch within days and the larvae make their way into the dusty spaces between floorboards.

Without a host to suck blood from (animal, bird, or human), fleas live a few months at most. They can survive in the moist, dark areas of the floor, but female fleas need to drink blood to lay eggs. If females don’t get a bloodmeal, they don’t lay eggs and there are no more fleas once all the adult fleas die off.

Floorboards happen to be one of the many places fleas hide in a house. Click here for a list of all the places fleas live in a house and how to find them.

How to find fleas in floorboards

There are three easy things you can do to tell if you have fleas living in your floorboards:

Inspect your floor and furniture for fleas

Fleas are tiny, brown insects, without wings. They jump very well when they want to move from one host to another, but they spend most of their time walking around.

If you think there are fleas living in your floorboards, get close to the ground and try to see fleas on the floor or in the cracks between the floorboards. Also take a look at any carpets, drapes, upholstery or wood furniture in the room, where fleas often hide too.

If you find fleas in any part of the room or in the house, and they’ve had enough time to reproduce, there’s a good chance you have fleas in your floorboards.

The picture above shows a flea and how to tell if you have found a flea. Fleas are wingless, have 6 legs with hooks on the ends, strong back legs, and are brown or black in color.

Try to pick up fleas with white socks

If you can’t see fleas with your eyes, try collecting them with socks.

Put on a pair of white socks and spend a few hours in the room where you think there might be fleas. It’s better if these socks are high enough to cover your calves and/or knees.

If there are live fleas in the area, there’s a good chance some fleas will jump onto your socks thinking they’re the legs of an animal to feed on.

Keep checking your socks to see if you find any fleas attached to them.

Check your pets for fleas

Fleas usually come into the home on pets or through open doors and windows from the yard. If you think there are fleas in the floorboards, it’s time to check your pets for signs of fleas:

  • First check your pet’s coat for fleas. If fleas are active, you’ll probably see the insects sitting or walking around in the fur.
  • Also look for redness and bites around the animal’s ears, belly, and back legs, as these are areas that fleas love to nibble.
  • You might also see brown or black flea droppings on the animal’s skin or on the coat close to the skin. These flea poops are called “flea dirt”.

If you have pets and fleas in your yard, click here for a list of pet-friendly ways to get rid of the fleas without harming your animals.

How to get rid of fleas in floorboards

Below is a list of the best methods and products from Amazon to get rid of fleas in your floorboards.

When using a product on wood floors, first do a small patch test to make sure it doesn’t damage or discolor the floorboards.

  • Sprinkle flea powder, like this one from Amazon, into the cracks and crevices of the floor. This powder is designed to be used in the home and should be left for 24 hours to kill live fleas and their eggs. Salt and baking soda will not do a good job of killing fleas.
  • Vacuum the area, including the floorboards, trims, carpet, furniture, and drapes. Make sure to vacuum in the corners and under all furniture in the room. Once done vacuuming, seal and dispose of the vacuum bag so you don’t spread fleas to other rooms. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning a bagless vacuum cleaner.
  • Mop the floorboards with soapy water and a damp mop – you can try using this homemade dish soap solution that kills fleas and other pests. If possible, use a disposable mop head that you can seal and throw away after.
  • Machine wash all drapes, carpets, rugs, removable furniture covers, pet bedding, and pet clothing on the hottest setting possible, to kill fleas and eggs.
  • Treat all your pets for fleas using products recommended by your vet. This may include a:
  • Find an indoor spray that kills all stages of the flea life cycle and is made from natural ingredients that are safe for the family – here’s a home spray that works. Spray it directly onto the wood floor, pet bedding, leashes, furniture, carpets, rugs, and anywhere else you want to kill or prevent fleas. Move the furniture and spray areas where the furniture normally sits.
  • Seal cracks and gaps between wood floor boards to stop fleas from settling there again. Here’s an article that gives you three ways to do this.

Once you’ve taken all or some of the above steps to kill the fleas in your house, you’ll need to maintain a flea-prevention routine until you know that every flea is gone and there are no more eggs that can hatch…

Check your pets regularly over the coming weeks. Vacuum the floors, wash them with soapy water, and spray the area regularly with a natural product that kills fleas (like this one) every two or three days.

If there are no signs of fleas for the next six weeks, then the fleas are probably gone and there is no infestation in your wood floors or home.

How long it takes to get rid of fleas

It is possible to kill and remove all fleas and eggs with a single deep cleaning session, but this rarely happens because fleas are very good at hiding. If you miss one egg or one female flea the life cycle continues, and you’ll soon be finding fleas in your home again.

If you take the right steps to get rid of fleas and continue to maintain the area, all fleas should be gone within six to eight weeks.

I'm Monique. I love gardening and spending time in my backyard growing things. Here's where I share what I know about backyard pests and what to do about them, so you can enjoy your yard too.

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Monique loves gardening and spending time in her backyard, where she grows flowers, succulents, herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

Monique spends a lot of time researching how to protect her backyard from harmful pests and trying to attract beneficial insects and animals.

She shares everything that she learns and tests here at Backyard Pests.


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