How Long Can Fleas Live in an Empty House

Fleas can be a problem all year long. Once they get into the house, it can be hard to get rid of them, and your pets can be driven crazy by the little buggers!

How long can fleas live in an empty house? What if they have nothing to feed on?

In the right circumstances, fleas can survive for weeks or months in an empty house. However, adult fleas need a host and can die soon without one.

Here is what we know:

  • Adult fleas feeding on a host die within one week of laying eggs if they no longer have a host.
  • Flea larvae can survive up to 9 months in an empty home. 
  • Apart from adult fleas, fleas can rest in an empty house until they find a host.

Additionally, pre-emerged adults can live up to 6 months in their cocoons without food. 

We’ll explain it all below.

How Long Can Fleas Survive in an Empty House?

The flea life cycle changes and is often unpredictable. Whether fleas survive or die is dependent on several factors.

They have adapted to surviving for days without food until they get a host. What’s more, adult fleas mostly attack pets and other wild animals. They only attack humans when there are no other hosts available.

Here’s how fleas survive in an empty house:

The flea life cycle changes and is often unpredictable. Whether fleas survive or die is dependent on several factors.

1. The Presence of Eggs in the House

Flea eggs can survive up to one year. So, if eggs are present in an empty house, they could have hatched and developed into pre-emerged adults. The adults can live in their cocoons until a new host becomes available.

2. Wild Animals Denning Near the House

Wild animals such as squirrels and raccoons can often be found sneaking into an attic or near a house. Therefore, if an adult flea feeds on animal blood, its life cycle increases, consequently laying more eggs. F

urthermore, the pests can feed on blood from stray dogs near the house. It is key to note that when adult female fleas feed on blood from a host, they can lay up to 27 eggs daily. This way, the larvae survive without a primary in the house. 

3. High Humidity

Environmental factors such as humidity play a vital role in the survival of fleas. So naturally, fleas thrive in high-humidity areas. If the house has high humidity (relative to the outside), the life span of adult fleas increases. Therefore, humid and damp areas are perfect breeding spots for fleas.

4. Low Temperature in the House

Cold houses or those with leaking roofs are ideal breeding spots for fleas. For that reason, the owner should ensure that a vacant house remains dry while it is unoccupied.

5. Previous Tenants Had Flea-Infested Pets

Fleas eggs can survive up to 6 months in an empty house, particularly in carpets. Given that, if the previous owners had pets that were flea infested, the eggs could live in areas like corners and carpets. In these circumstances, eggs can live on, even after the tenants vacate the house.

6. Bushes, grass, or trees Near the House

These parasites thrive in cold, humid, and shady areas like grass and near trees. Parasites living nearby often indicate they have adequate food and an ideal place to breed. On that account, they can easily find their way into the empty house.

However, fleas don’t like being exposed to extreme heat. They may therefore vacate the grass to seek shade in the house when it becomes extra sunny.

7. People Walking Around in the House

Fleas naturally detect carbon dioxide and warmth from a potential host. Although they can’t fly, they are expert jumpers. They jump on humans in the house in an attempt to draw and feed on their blood. Moreso, the presence of a potential host, draws fleas from their cocoons. Once adequately fed, the pre-emerged fleas can survive and reproduce for months.

8. Living or Recreational Areas Nearby

Older fleas are naturally adapted to hunt for hosts. They vacate their cocoons in search of blood. Consequently, they will feed on humans living close to the vacant premises. This way, their life cycle increases, making it more difficult to eliminate them.

Managing a Flea Infestation

However serious the infestation might be, it is possible to eradicate the buggers. The process can take up to two weeks, and you may have to go through it multiple times before it finally takes.

Therefore you should be thorough and patient in getting rid of the fleas. Here are some steps that will aid you in controlling fleas.

1. Daily Thorough Vacuuming to Kill Eggs and Adult Fleas

If you plan to rent out the vacant house, you should do thorough vacuuming daily. This helps ensure you kill all adult fleas, eggs, and larvae. Otherwise,  the new tenants will be infested with fleas. Furthermore, thorough vacuuming helps keep the vermin at bay.

It would be best to use a vacuum with a bag to avoid touching the eggs.

If you plan to rent out the vacant house, you should do thorough vacuuming daily. This helps ensure you kill all adult fleas, eggs, and larvae.

2. Having the House Professionally Cleaned

Professional cleaners are equipped with the right tools to do a satisfactory job. Additionally, they have the right detergent to clean the house.

Did you know that a mixture of soap and heat kills fleas at all stages?

3. Placing Flea Traps in Hot Spots

Hot spots are hiding spots for fleas, like corners and crevices. The devices have sticky inserts to trap the fleas. Additionally, the traps produce heat and light, which attract pests. Therefore, the fleas get easily trapped.

However, replacing the sticky inserts is necessary for better results. 


Adult fleas can live up to a week without a host. Pre-emerged fleas stay in their cocoons for up to 6 months. After that, however, they are adapted to sense potential hosts nearby and immediately feed on their blood. Once adequately fed, the adult fleas reproduce swiftly.

This way, the fleas can live on, even in a vacant house.

Fleas survive and thrive in cold and humid areas like tall grass and shrubs growing nearby. Therefore, constant trimming of shrubs and bushes will help you keep the culprits at bay. However, failure to do so will attract fleas to the vacant house. For this reason, professionals advise you to do thorough vacuuming regularly to get rid of the fleas faster.