Can Fleas Survive in a Plastic Bag?

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Can Fleas Survive in a Plastic Bag?
Can Fleas Survive in a Plastic Bag?

We get it – no buzz supersedes the ecstatic feeling of maintaining a pest-free environment. A flea-free homestead means your guests and other household occupants are free to sit anywhere in the vicinity without any form of disturbance from the infuriating pests.

It means, your pet’s general lives are not at stake. They can play joyfully around the compound without notable flea-bites frequented with the scathing scratchy behavior and disease transmission.

However, such is a dream you will hardly live by in parts of the world where flea infestation is an integral part of life. It may mean, waking up to vacuuming of carpets, area rugs and other uncovered floor parts daily.

Not to mention, you will incur bills due to frequent use of your washing machine to launder all your clothes and bedding under abnormal washing cycles and temperature settings. To be precise, such a comfy environment is not easy to come by.

But, do you know that a plastic bag can save you the hustle? Yes, the same polybag or pouch that you normally use to package your shopping goodies! Take a look…!

Will Flea Eggs Die in Plastic Bags?

The cornerstone of flea infestation lies with their eggs. To sustainably wheel off these pesky pests from your homestead, all you need is to get rid of their eggs. By doing so, you will cut them short before developing into adults and reproducing even further.

However, flea eggs are not like adults or larvae. They neither breathe nor feed on anything. The best they can do is to lie on your carpets or any other favourable platform as they develop and transition into other complex forms. Most sprays and even pesticides may not exterminate them.

One sure way to get rid of flea eggs is through dehydration. Popular anti-flea products such as Diatomaceous Earth, when applied evenly on carpets, floors and pet’s bedding, will draw water and dehydrate the flea eggs. It works well in low-humidity indoor conditions.

When you collect flea eggs and put them in a plastic bag for sometimes, you will notice tiny development of moisture inside the bag. Just like Diatomaceous Earth, the bag will draw water from the eggs. As a result, the eggs will slowly dehydrate and die due to lack of moisture.

Secondly, for flea eggs to develop, they require a temperature range of not more than 30 degrees Celsius. Anything more than that will affect their viability hence altering their development.

When you insert flea eggs in a plastic bag and place the bag outside your house, the temperature inside the bag will increase exponentially. It can go up to more than 50 degrees Celsius depending on the weather of the day. Such temperature will kill the eggs instantly.

How Long can Fleas Survive Without a Host?

Fleas are real survivors. They can take a few days, weeks, months or even years without hosts. How long they stay primarily depends on the stage of development they are in and the prevailing environmental conditions.

Fleas are known to be overly opportunistic. They can live off the blood of any host that comes by when dislodged from the main hosts. Besides, these tiny pests are equipped with strong hind legs that are ideal for high-jumps as they search for new hosts.

Any flea that has just broken from its cocoon will need blood to survive. It will only break loose from the pupal stage once it has ascertained the existence of readily available host. Without blood, it will succumb to starvation.

However, unfed fleas – new fleas from cocoons – stay longer than other adult fleas. In 78% relative humidity, they can survive without blood for 15 days. In 60% relative humidity, they will only survive for 12 days.

On the other hand, with ambient temperature and 78% relative humidity, unfed fleas will survive as long as 40 days. This tells you how these two parameters are so important for fleas survival.

Fed fleas normally suffer from blood dependency. In this state, their metabolism is customized for regular feeding. When they get dislodged from furs of their hosts due to vigorous combing, the only survival alternative is to search for a new host. Otherwise, even with ambient temperature and excellent humidity, they will seldom manage 2 days before starving to death.

Lastly, in cocoons, fleas are hyper-resilient. Under unfavorable survival conditions, they undergo a dormancy period that can last more than a year. This is what makes flea pupae hard to exterminate.

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Non-Washable Items?

Fleas do not spare non-washable fabrics made out of fibers such as acetate, burlap, silk, triacetate, non-washable wool, rope, rayon and fiberglass. And, since you can use neither detergents nor washing machine over these fabrics, removing fleas from them can be a real pain.

However, thanks to new inventions, you can use alternative methods to break loose and kill fleas from these wares. First, most of these fabrics work well with a popular flea collar, repellents or sprays. All you need is to spread the fabrics and apply the anti-flea product evenly over their surface and wait for their magic to take effect.

Alternatively, you can insert the clothes inside a polybag and leave them to rest there for sometimes. A week is enough for all the pests to breathe their last.

What Kills Fleas Instantly?

While there may be numerous ways to get rid of fleas, some options take days and even weeks to bear fruits. This makes them not so good where urgency is a course for concern.

To kill fleas instantly, insert the infested clothes, sheets, covers and bedding in a washing machine and use the MAX option for both washing and drying. Add dish soap, bleach (where necessary) and detergent for better results. The tiny pests will hardly survive all through the last process.

Conclusion

Use of polythene bag is an alternative flea control mechanism for sprays, oils, ointments and other anti-flea products.

This method works by starving, suffocating and dehydrating both adult fleas, their eggs and larvae. However, the technique may not work well under heavy infestation.

Updated: January 2, 2020

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