Fleas in an Empty House? Quick Flea Treatment

Fleas in an empty house can happen, so here is some advice on spotting when you have a flea infestation.

You may be thinking:

  • But how can you have fleas in an empty house? 
  •  What are the first signs of a flea infestation in an empty house? 
  •  How can fleas survive without anything to feed on? 
  •  How long can they survive generally? 
  •  How can I confirm my flea infestation in an empty house?
  •  What is the best way to eliminate fleas in an empty house? 

If you're curious or in a hurry:

Use Indorex spray to kill fleas fast.

An industrial vacuum is essential to break the flea life cycle.

Industrial vacuums vary wildly in price. You are getting a good deal if you can pick one up for approximately £90. You have bagged a bargain if you see a price less than this.

Pro tip – If you have a rental house that needs renovating, you can use this type of vacuum cleaner to attach straight to your sander! Double win!  

Check prices on industrial vacuum cleaners 

UK Vacmaster vaccum

What Are The First Signs of a Flea Infestation in an Empty House?

Take, for example, last summer. If you follow my blog, you will have followed my and Mr. Budget's journey as we renovated our rental house for resale. I was happily stripping wallpaper on the first day in shorts and short socks.

That night! Aghh! The itching was incredible!

Back story – tenant history

I had red, painful, itchy bites all over my ankles. This is the first sign you have a flea infestation if the animal is no longer at the property. We knew our tenants' history and were happy for them to have animals at the property. When our agent had last inspected the property, she had had to lay it plain to the tenant that he needed to clean up. It turned out that he had split from his girlfriend and was going through difficulties. This ultimately led him to have to leave.

Clue one – animals had previously lived there

Clue two – dirty environment, with plenty of loose fur around and nooks and spaces for the fleas to hide in.

Clue three – red itchy bites all over a warm place on my body (ankles) that happened to be close to the floor.

But How Can You Have Fleas in an Empty House?

Okay, so adult fleas will only live for four days without a host to feed on but read these facts below.

According to Fleascience: 

Fleas removed from their host will die of starvation within four days.12 Young fleas that haven't fed can live slightly longer without a blood meal, around one week.123 Pre-emerged adults, remaining inside their cocoons, can enter into a dormant-like state. They can survive for up to 155 days without feeding.

Source: Fleascience.com

So, in their larvae and cocoon stage, fleas can lie dormant for months! Reasons for this include – the house being empty and, therefore, nobody is causing vibrations by moving around. Vibrations can wake them up!

Another reason you can wake fleas in an empty house is that colder weather or lack of heating can also cause them to become dormant.

An interesting fact from the RSPCA is that:

It is estimated that 95 percent of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae live in the environment, not on your pet. 

Source: RSPCA 

Therefore, if you have a flea infestation in an empty house, dormant cocooned adults and larvae will wake up and start biting! Ouch!

How Can Fleas Survive Without Anything To Feed On?

If they have never left their cocoons or they are still in egg form or larvae form, they will become dormant and live, as stated above for around 155 days.

How Long Can Fleas Live Without a Host?

Fleas are amazing creatures. How long fleas can live without food is quite astonishing. Undisturbed and without a meal, they can survive up to 100 days.

How Long Do Fleas Live?

Adult fleas can live between 14 days and a whole year. The scary thing is that adult females can lay up to 50 eggs daily. Ugh – so approximately 1500 eggs each. This is why it is essential to get started on breaking the flea breeding and life cycle.

How Can I Confirm My Flea Infestation in an Empty House?

The second day, I went dressed in long tracksuit bottoms and white socks, which I pulled over the top of my trousers. This provided a seal so that the extremely hungry fleas couldn't bite my skin.

Because I wore white socks, it was obvious when they landed and got stuck in the sock fabric. This particular infestation wasn't as bad as others I have dealt with. To give you an idea, at one point, I had six or seven fleas attached to each sock before removing them.

Before we could do any more renovation work, starting the flea infestation treatment was essential.

What Is The Best Way To Eliminate Fleas in an Empty House?

To get rid of fleas in an empty house, you have the advantage of not worrying about any animal or person inside. I armed myself with our industrial vacuum, but whatever vacuum you have is fine. It will still remove eggs, larvae, and adult fleas from the area.

  1. Vacuum first
  2.  Spray and ventilate the rooms you want to renovate first
  3.  Empty the vacuum when you are done, and get rid of the bag. 
  4.  Repeat the vacuum every day for seven days.
  5.  Spray again after three days, if the infestation is still bad (spray usually is strong enough to last for 12 months) 

Vacuum First

Vacuum thoroughly across the main floor. We bought a cheap industrial vacuum because the dirt is too much for a household vacuum. If you can remove the carpet at this point, this is the easiest way to get rid of most fleas. Make sure you seal the rug if you are transporting it in a vehicle – otherwise, you will also have fleas in that vehicle. Agghh!

UK version – check prices here. 

Then use the crevice tool to vacuum out the edges around the wooden architraves and any door frames, window sills, and holes.

When you have finished, throw away the bag, or if your vacuum is bagless, spray the canister with a small amount of the household flea spray and leave, ideally outside, to ventilate.

Spray and Ventilate The Room

I thought about which rooms Mr. Budget, and I would be working in and vacuumed them. Then follow the manufacturer's guidelines and spray around all the edges, architraves, wood, and holes you have just vacuumed. This is where fleas gather. The spray ( I use Indorex), if it is a good one, will kill adult fleas on contact, then continue killing cocooned fleas as they emerge.

At about $14 a bottle, you are getting a reasonable price for this. Any less, that's a big win.

Check current prices for Indorex. 

Virbac Knockout Treatment is also fabulous. It's the Indorex equivalent in the US, and from the same company, Indorex is made.

Check prices for Virbac Knockout.

At this point, I took a coffee break, down at the local coffee shop and left the house secure but with as many windows open for maximum ventilation. Be careful to have excellent ventilation as you spray, as these sprays always come with this advice. 

Continue Vacuuming Every Day for a Least 2/3 Weeks.

By vacuuming every day, I realized I was getting fewer and fewer flea bites. This was because there were always a few hatchlings and adults I needed to catch up on. By being consistent, I was removing them continually, reducing the instance of a re-infestation as bad as this.

Products I Use and Trust

Indorex Flea Spray

More Details

Virbac Knockout Details 

In Conclusion

So there you are, some top tips on spotting fleas in an empty house and getting rid of fleas fast. Other scenarios where this could happen:

  • You are moving into a new home that you only know part of the history of.
  •  You have moved business premises
  •  On holiday, where are you staying?

Read my related posts below: 

How Do I Get Rid Of Fleas In My House Fast?

If you are interested in rental house renovation: 

Rental House Renovation †“Make More Money