Why do I still have fleas?

Pat e-mailed in this question:

"I have a prob"I have a problem with fleas. My stepson's cat brought them into the house and even though i have gotten rid of the cat (and the stepson) I cannot seem to get rid of the fleas.

i have bombed. this works for about a day.

i have dusted with Diatomaceous Earth but after two day i went down stairs (finished with a half cellar) and got about 20 on my legs (all little)

How long does it take for the Diatomaceous Earth to work?

I have contained them downstairs for now but i want them out.

please please help u"


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From what you're describing, it sounds like you have been killing the adults but not the eggs and larva. You said that all the fleas that jumped on you were little, which means that they are younger and recently turned into adults. That's a good thing for you, because if you don't have any grown adults, you don't have any new eggs - and it's a matter of waiting it out. Fleas start out as eggs, then turn into larva, then pupa (they live in a little cocoon), and then they finally come out whenever they sense footsteps, movement, or heat nearby. That whole process usually takes three weeks to a month.

It's tough to tell how effective your flea bomb was because the brands can vary and there are some cheaper ones out there. It may not have gotten down into the cellar if that is the only place you are still seeing fleas. As for the diatomaceous earth, that can ONLY kill adults. They die when they jump or crawl across it - so eggs and fleas sitting in their cocoons waiting for you to come by won't die until they actually come out, which is likely why you saw a whole bunch come after you when you went down there. You were the first meal to come by, so they all jumped out after it.

If you don't do anything else, because you've gotten rid of the cat, you will most likely see your flea problem go away about three weeks to a month after you used the diatomaceous soil and the flea bomb. That's because while you have no new eggs, you have to wait for all the existing eggs, larvae, and pupae to grow up and die. With no meal to feed on, a young flea will die in about a week.

You can try a couple of things to speed that up: 1) if you're only seeing them in the basement, you should vacuum down there. The reason for that is that the heat will speed up the life cycle - it causes the fleas to hatch early. You could dust again with the earth so that there's still some down there after it gets sucked up by the vacuum. 2) You could also try bombing down there as well. Diatomaceous earth will kill any new adults, but only after they come out of their cocoons, and they won't do that unless they feel heat or movement. 

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