How to Kill Fleas When Nothing Is Working

Fleas are pesky parasites that can be more than a mere annoyance.

Eliminate fleas from your living environment entirely to prevent future infestations.Eliminate fleas from your living environment entirely to prevent future infestations.
In addition to causing discomfort toward pets and household members, they stir up allergies, cause painful dermatitis and are responsible for the contraction of intestinal tapeworms. Infestations can be difficult to treat, since fleas undergo four resilient life stages. Adults lay eggs almost immediately after consuming a blood meal. Hatched flea larvae quickly encapsulate themselves into cocoons, where they remain hidden and dormant in the home for up to 170 days. Successful flea treatment requires dedicated action with a varied tactical approach.

Inspect your pet for fleas. Gather solid evidence to accurately identify fleas as the source of bites on humans or pets. Using a flea comb, brush your pet's hair opposite of its natural direction of growth to expose skin and hair follicles. Look for black specs, or flea droppings. If droppings accumulate on the comb, scrape them onto a damp paper towel. According to the American Kennel Club, flea droppings turn rust red when exposed to water.

Identify flea hot spots. Indoors, fleas gather where pets spend most of their time. Pet bedding and furniture heavily frequented by your pet will contain the majority of fleas and their eggs. Flea cocoons and larvae hide in small floor cracks, baseboards and underneath furniture. Outdoors, fleas frequent damp, shaded areas and places that your pet consistently inhabits.

Clean flea hot spots and apply pesticides. Vacuuming and steam cleaning loosen flea larvae from hard-to-reach areas. Launder pet and human bedding with hot water. Apply an insect growth regulator (IGR) spray to flea hot spots, removing pets and humans from areas requiring treatment prior to pesticide application. Follow the directions on the pesticide label and allow the spray to dry thoroughly before reintroducing pets and humans to treated areas.

Administer a topical flea treatment, such as Frontline or Advantage, to pets for lasting results. The active ingredients in topical treatments absorb into your pet's oil glands and disperse throughout skin and hair follicles. The treatment is fast-acting and will kill fleas for an entire month. Apply the treatment to the back of your pet's neck, between the shoulder blades. Dogs and cats will experience immediate relief.

Things You Will Need

  • Flea comb
  • Paper towel
  • Insect growth regulator (IGR) spray
  • Topical flea preventative


  • Reapply IGR spray to infested areas in 170 days to ensure complete flea elimination.
  • Apply topical flea treatments to pets every 30 days to prevent future infestations.


  • Read all labels and safety precautions when handling pesticides and keep areas of application well-ventilated.
  • Cover utensils and food items prior to using IGR spray in the home.

About the Author

Jessica Conner broke into the online writing field in 2010 when she published articles for a local news website covering art-related topics. She now writes full time for various websites. She resides in South Louisiana and attended the University of Louisiana for visual arts.