Can Fleas Survive Without a Host?

This is a question many homeowners ask themselves. It’s no secret that fleas often target dogs, cats and other household pets; therefore, conventional wisdom should tell you that treating your pets with a flea treatment product will solve the problem. But stopping a flea infestation isn’t always this easy, and it often requires a more methodical approach.

The short answer, is yes fleas can survive without a host — but only for a short period of time. Fleas are classified as a parasite, meaning they need a host to survive. The sole source of their nutrition is the blood of mammals, including dogs, cats, squirrels, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, rats, and even people. If the flea doesn’t have access to a source of blood/food, it will eventually die from starvation.

So, how long can a flea survive without a host? There’s no easy answer to this question, as a flea’s survivability without food depends on a number of different factors, such as the time of its last meal, the surrounding climate, life cycle stage, proximity of natural predators, age, species (there are thousands of different species of fleas), etc. According to an article published by Texas A&M, however, the average adult flea will survive a 2 to 14 days without a host. The article also suggests that fleas can survive 8 days on a short-haired dog or cat, whereas fleas can survive for 30 days or longer on a host with long hair.

Because fleas die so quickly without a host, it’s recommended that you homeowners struggling with a flea infestation identify and subsequently treat any potential hosts. The most obvious type of host for a flea is the family pet, such as a dog or cat. If you own a pet, make sure you apply a premium flea treatment/preventative medicine to deter fleas. Once you’re able to deter fleas from biting your pet, you should slowly but surely see their numbers subside.

Don’t assume that fleas can only feast on pets, however. It’s not uncommon for fleas to thrive on the blood of squirrels or other critters hidden in the attic. Perform an inspection of your home to ensure it’s fully sealed so there’s no chance of critters entering.

Have any other flea-fighting tips you’d like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!