Once fleas get into your home or yard, it’s difficult to know where they are hiding and get rid of them. If you have wood furniture, indoors or out, you might be wondering if fleas can live there too. It turns out that…
Fleas can live in the cracks, dark corners, and underneath wood furniture for several months without food. Fleas will always choose to live on an animal because they drink blood, but if flea eggs drop and fleas are born near furniture, they live there until an animal walks by that they can jump onto.
Knowing where and how to find fleas on furniture is critical in stopping them from causing a full-blown infestation that’s difficult to get under control.
By the end of this article, you’ll be able to:
- Decide if you might have fleas once you know where they come from
- Find fleas in wood furniture, if they are there
- Kill all flea stages in your wood furniture
- Keep fleas off your wood furniture in future
Fleas can live in wood furniture
Fleas can be found in cracks, underneath, and in the dark corners of wood furniture and other items made from wood. But fleas don’t seek out wood because they can’t eat wood or make tunnels in wood to live in, like some other bugs.
If you find fleas in wood, they most likely came from flea eggs that were dropped there by a human, bird, or animal passing by. Fleas only stay in wood as long as it takes for an animal or human to come close enough for them to jump on (about 13 inches / 33 cm), or until the fleas die.
Wood furniture happens 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.
Here’s what happens to fleas in wood furniture:
- If a human walks past the wood furniture, fleas jump onto the person and catch a ride to a better place. This could be a yard (where they are more likely to find an animal or bird), inside the house, or straight onto nearby pets. Fleas don’t live on people and much prefer animal blood to human blood.
- If an animal walks past, fleas happily jump from the wood furniture onto the animal. They stay on this animal and suck its blood, hidden in the animal’s fur for protection. These well-fed fleas lay many eggs, which drop off the animal and sometimes land on wood furniture or other wood items (causing new infestations or re-infestations).
- Fleas that hatch or fall down on wood furniture or wood floorboards have several months (most often 2 – 3 months) to find a host animal to jump onto. If they don’t, they usually die of starvation.
The problem with fleas in wood is that they are very good at finding a host to jump on, sucking the host’s blood, then laying a lot of eggs very quickly. What starts off as a few fleas on furniture quickly turns into a full-blown infestation.
How to tell if there are fleas in wood furniture
Now we know that fleas can live in wood, it’s time to find out if fleas are actually living in your wood furniture. Below are a few ways to find fleas in wood furniture:
Look closely for fleas
Fleas are visible to the naked eye.
Take a close look at any wood furniture where you think fleas might be hiding, including the bed if it’s made from wood. Be sure to look under the armrests, under the seats of chairs, in dark corners, and in cracks in the wood, to see if you can find insects that look like fleas.
When you find what you think might be a flea, catch it.
The easiest way to catch a flea is to use wide tape, like this one from Amazon. Cut off a piece of tape that’s about 10 inches (20 cm) long. Hold the piece of tape with both hands, with the sticky side facing the furniture. Place the sticky side of the tape onto the insect, so the insect sticks to the tape.
Once you’ve caught an insect, look to see if it’s a flea. The picture below shows you what a common flea looks like:
Set a flea trap
Setting a flea trap near wood furniture is a great way to tell if there are fleas on the wood. Just be aware that flea traps are not good for getting rid of fleas because they catch live fleas only (while the eggs and larvae keep the flea population going).
If the wood furniture is indoors, place one or several flea traps around the furniture’s legs or anywhere you think fleas might be hiding. The flea traps give off light, which attracts fleas. The traps are also warm, which tricks fleas into thinking that the traps are animals. Fleas jump from the furniture onto the traps, where they get stuck.
If you want to make your own flea trap, here’s how:
Add warm water to a large plate or pie dish. Mix 2 tablespoons of dish soap (Dawn dish soap makes a great pest killer) into the water. Put a battery-run tealight candle in the water, as the light will attract fleas from up to 30 feet away. The trap works by attracting fleas and drowning them in the soapy water.
Place flea traps around your furniture and leave them overnight, for a few nights. If you have fleas, there’s a good chance you’ll find at least one dead flea in a flea trap.
Check pets for fleas
If your pets have fleas, there’s a chance there are fleas on your wood furniture if these pets lie on or tend to walk past the furniture. Your wood furniture could also get fleas from wild animals or birds that come near to the furniture.
Fleas won’t jump from an animal to wood furniture, but flea eggs fall from animals and birds as they go about their daily life.
To check your dog or cat for fleas, get a fine-tooth comb or flea comb and a damp, light-colored cloth. Start by combing the animal’s neck and shoulder blades in one long stroke, then wipe the comb on the cloth.
Whatever the comb picks up from the animal will be transferred to the cloth, making it easy for you to see. Look for live fleas, small white eggs, or reddish-black flea dirt (flea poop) on the cloth.
Continue brushing your pet around the neck, between the shoulder blades, at the base of its tail, and along the back legs. These are the places where fleas usually hide, so it gives you the best chance to find clues that your pet has fleas.
Wipe the comb on the cloth after each stroke and look to see if the comb picked up anything.
Rub the wood furniture with a damp cloth
Just as you can pick up clues of fleas from animals with a damp cloth, so too can you pick up clues from the furniture itself.
To check if your wood furniture has fleas on it, wipe it down with a light-colored, damp cloth. Rub the cushions vigorously and wipe down the furniture from top to bottom, especially in hard-to-reach places and in cracks in the wood.
Look at the cloth regularly to see if there are any fleas, white eggs, or reddish-black flea dirt on the cloth.
How to get rid of fleas in wood furniture
If you have fleas in wood furniture, it’s important to get rid of them as soon as possible, before they reproduce and infest your home and yard. The following steps and products from Amazon can be used to get rid of fleas in wood furniture without damaging it:
- Remove and machine wash all cushions and covers from the furniture, as well as any rugs, drapes, or materials close to the furniture. Wash everything on the hottest setting possible, to kill fleas and eggs.
- Sprinkle flea powder, like this one from Amazon, onto the wood and in any cracks or crevices you can find. It’s safe enough to be used indoors and should be left for 24 hours to work properly.
- Alternatively, sprinkle food-grade, pet-friendly diatomaceous earth (DE) onto the furniture, and let it sit there for 2 days. DE must come into contact with the fleas to kill them, so this isn’t the best method but some people prefer using a more natural product than flea powder. The problem with DE is that it only kills live fleas and leaves the eggs and pupae alive.
- After the flea powder has had enough time to work, vacuum up what you can with a handheld vacuum or regular vacuum cleaner. Use a soft bristle brush attachment so you don’t damage the wood. If it’s a vacuum with a bag, throw the bag away. If it’s bagless, clean the inside of the vacuum following the manufacturer’s guidelines. Alternatively, clean up the flea powder with a dustpan and brush.
- Wash the wood furniture with soapy water and a damp cloth – you can try using this homemade dish soap solution that kills fleas and other pests. It’s best to throw the cloth away after doing this, or wash the cloth on a high heat in the washing machine to sterilize it.
- Use varnish to seal cracks in the wood furniture, to stop fleas from settling there again.
- Get a 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 furniture from top to bottom. Move the furniture and spray the area where the furniture normally sits. Now spray all pet bedding, leashes, nearby carpets, rugs, and anywhere else you want to kill or prevent fleas.
- Treat all your pets for fleas using products recommended by your vet. This may include a:
- -> topical treatment that’s applied to the back of the neck
- -> pet-friendly wash
- -> spray that’s formulated for animals (here’s a popular plant-based spray for dogs and cats)
- -> flea comb
- -> flea collar
Once you’ve taken all or some of the above steps to kill fleas on wood furniture, keep repeating the treatments regularly, about once or twice a week.
If there are no signs of fleas for six weeks straight, then the fleas are probably gone and there are no more hiding in eggs ready to hatch.
How to keep fleas away from wood furniture
To keep fleas away long term, add a few drops of pure eucalyptus, lemon, or lavender essential oil to furniture polish before polishing your furniture.
You can also add a few drops of these essential oils to water in a spray bottle, then spray this scented water onto cushions and other materials on or near the furniture.
Just be sure to do a patch test on a hidden part of the furniture before applying the polish or spray to a visible area. Fleas hate these smells and will stay away from the wood furniture for good.