Are Fleas Hard to Squish?

Fleas are a common nuisance among pet owners. They’re a frustrating infestation and are pretty hard to eliminate once they start multiplying. That’s why so many people search for easier ways to kill the little vampires! 

You’d think the obvious thing to do would be to just squish them how you would a gnat, right?

Are fleas hard to squish?

Fleas are surprisingly hard to squish, so you’d better come up with a plan B.

Here are the details on squishing fleas:

  • Fleas have shells made of chitin that act like armor which makes them hard to squash.
  • They can jump up to 80x higher than their height, so they can easily jump out of reach.
  • Fleas are tougher than they seem – chances are they will just hop away unscathed.

Keep reading to find out more about squishing fleas and what you should do instead.

Are Fleas Hard to Squish?

Fleas have a sturdy exoskeleton made of chitin, used to protect themselves from predators. Chitin is a protective exterior shell that acts like armor and makes fleas hard to squash.

Apart from these shells, fleas are very quick and have a powerful jump that lets them zip away. 

With the ability to jump up to 80x higher than their own height, they can easily spring right out of reach. The extra joints contained in their rear legs are what give them their ‘bounciness.’ 

Fleas feed on blood to survive. However, what you don’t know is that they can live as long as two weeks without feeding once. And their eggs will outlast them!

If you leave your flea-infested house for a few days, they’ll probably still be waiting for you when you get back, ready to feast.

Why You Shouldn’t Even Try Squishing Fleas

Touching a flea, in general, is a risky move as they can carry numerous diseases. Fleas once carried the Black Plague, a deadly disease that killed millions of people. Although fleas are no longer considered a risk to humans, you should still be wary of the illnesses they can carry. 

Here are some of the more common human diseases found in fleas:

  • Flea tapeworm – transmitted when ingested or by infected feces.
  • Plague – transmitted in oriental rat fleas.
  • Flea-borne typhus – is transmitted in cat fleas by their infected feces or bites.
  • Tungiasis – transmitted in chigoe fleas when they bite/burrow into the skin.
  • Bartonellosis – transmitted in oriental rat and cat fleas when they bite. 

Here are some of the more common diseases that affect cats and dogs:

  • Flea-borne typhus – transmitted in cat fleas by their infected feces or bites.
  • Cat scratch disease – transmitted in cat fleas. 
  • Plague – transmitted when they eat a rodent infected by a flea. 
  • Flea tapeworm – transmitted when ingested. 
  • Parasitic dermatitis – is caused when a dog/cat is allergic to flea saliva. 
  • Anemia/iron deficiency – is caused when a pet is inflicted with a large population of fleas.

Please keep these in mind if you or your pet are experiencing flea problems, no matter how minor they may be.

How to Properly Get Rid of Fleas

So we’ve established that squishing or squashing won’t do it. So what will?

Getting Rid of Fleas on Your Pets

There are several different flea treatment options when it comes to your pets. Your vet can prescribe you oral medication that works through the bloodstream and is most effective at killing them at different life stages.

You can also put special collars on your pet to kill surface fleas and topical products that you apply directly to the skin. Whichever treatment you use, you will likely have to continue it over a few weeks, sometimes more. 

Get Out The Vacuum!

One of the easiest ways to get rid of fleas in the home is by vacuuming. Then vacuuming some more. Then some more.

Did we mention vacuuming?

For a few weeks, you should vacuum your home thoroughly daily.

Be sure to get in all the nooks and crannies, as this is where flea larvae are usually found. And the larvae are what you want to look out for. 

Even after all the fleas are dead, their larvae can remain dormant and resistant to flea-killing products until they emerge from their cocoons. Flea bombs and similar treatments are tempting, but they don’t kill the eggs. It’s best to stick with other options.

Fire Up The Washer

Hot, soapy water is an effective way to deal with fleas on fabric, pet bedding, and even on your pets. Your washing machine will be your friend (note: don’t put fluffy in the washing machine!)

Wash any blankets or pet bedding with hot water and detergent. Anything washable that may be infested should be washed to get rid of any remaining larvae. 

When you bathe your pet, make sure the water is soapy, and let the fleas die in the water over the course of a day. They won’t die immediately!

Search for any Stray Animals in the Yard

People often forget about treating the usual source of the problem: the backyard. It would be a shame to do all this work inside your house only to have your pet get infested again in a few months and bring them back inside. 

Keeping your outside space clean and neat can reduce the flea population. Applying an outdoor flea killer or insecticide is a good idea as well. Be sure to spray it in dark/shady areas, underneath things where fleas like to lay eggs. 

It’s best to start treatment of all areas on the same day to prevent any larvae from surviving. Be consistent with all treatments and continue treating for at least a month to ensure all the eggs are dead. 

Fleas are often brought into the house by rodents like rats and squirrels sneaking into the house. Make sure you seal up any access points to the house and garage.

Final Thoughts

If you find fleas on your pet or in your home, you’re not going to squash the problem! Stick to vacuuming and washing, and talk to your vet about treatments for your pets.

Always use safety precautions when handling toxic chemicals like insecticides, as they can be very dangerous to animals and humans. Allowing a professional to handle those is always the wisest choice.

If you notice any odd changes in your pet or are experiencing a flea infestation, contact your vet immediately.