Similar to many insects, fleas develop their life cycles through a natural process called complete metamorphosis. The first stage and smallest form in every flea’s lifecycle is egg. It is very small, although not entirely invisible to the naked eyes. Eggs are distributed by host (mostly pets such as cats and dogs but also other animals).
What Do These Eggs Look Like?
Pets are not the only hosts for flea eggs, but most problems start with them. These eggs are probably about less than half a millimeter in size and completely white. Due to their tiny size and color, they are very difficult to see in most situations. Some people think they look like small version of grain, while others say flea eggs are like dandruff.
One of the most common misconceptions about flea eggs is that they only grow and hatch on animals or pets. While eggs are probably laid on animals’ skin, these eggs do not stick to animals’ furs or any surface. When a pet is infected with flea eggs, its movement will help transport the eggs to random areas in the house. Some will land on carpets, sofa, and beds, and probably cars, depending on how active the pet is. A pet that has fleas often scratches bite marks vigorously with its leg, spreading the eggs all over the place.
Flea eggs have oval shape and white color. Black flea feces are often found with the eggs; both are referred to as “salt and pepper” by veterinarians. We know that the eggs are not sticky indeed, but you can almost always find them by rubbing your cat’s or dog’s fur especially in the belly, lower back, neck, and head. If you rub your pet on clean plain black surface, chances are the eggs rain down on it. Those eggs are tough and difficult to completely destroy by insecticides or disinfectants. Another characteristic of flea eggs is smooth shell. Because of this, they tend to easily fall from the pet. When inspected under magnifying devices (such as microscope), the shape looks like any other type of animal egg.
More annoyingly, fleas lay a great number of eggs throughout their life. They do this not only on your pet’s skin, but also on any other surface including floor and bed. In outdoor area, those eggs can be found just about anywhere but mostly in damp soil or grassy lawn. A flea can reach five and half years of age, and each one lays about 50 eggs a day. A basic overview of flea eggs physical characteristics are as follows.
|Flea eggs are plain white, meaning you can see them more clearly on dark surface. Dark paper or metal is best to help you take a closer inspection.||Typical size is 0.5 mm long. It is roughly the same size as the width of lead used in a mechanical pencil.||Although you can see them, you may not be able to recognize them without proper magnification under microscope.|
Treating Flea Eggs on Your Dog or Cat
Prevention is always better. It is preferable to destroy fleas when they are still in egg stage, preventing new young irritating fleas from hatching in the first place. A fully grown flea can jump up to several feet away with a single leap, making them one of the fastest in the animal kingdom. Considering that fleas are wingless insects, their ability to jump helps them to escape extermination very well. An adult flea measures between 1.5 and 3.3 mm long, so they are still small enough to be extremely agile.
On the left is an image of a flea under SEM (scanning electron microscope).
Flea eggs are very resilient, but there are some effective methods to kill them or prevent the embryos from hatching. One thing you should know is that these eggs have small likelihood of surviving when exposed to humidity level of below 50% and less than 37°F temperature. Some of the best methods to get rid of flea eggs are as follows.
- Pet Hygiene:
since most of the eggs are laid on pets’ skin, you should provide good hygiene by bathing your pets with flea shampoo. Ordinary dish soap also works if your pet is under 12 weeks of age. Shampoo and dish soap are basically detergent and insecticides to kill adult fleas on the fur, thus preventing them from laying more eggs. Flea eggs are non-sticky and smooth, so they will go down the drain as you rinse your pets with clean water.
- Flea Comb:
one of the most effective tools to get rid of flea eggs from pets’ skin is flea comb. This special comb is designed to catch even the smallest impurities from fur. For more effective results, coat the comb with petroleum jelly to create sticky surface. Concentrate on pets’ chest and neck, where flea eggs are often found. Dip the comb in rubbing alcohol solution to kill caught fleas and their eggs.
- Oral Flea Treatment:
visit a veterinarian and ask for prescription oral flea drug. Give the medication to your pet once a month or according to the veterinarian dosage recommendation. A veterinarian usually determines dosage based on your pets’ age and weights, so you might as well take them for more thorough inspections. Some drugs are effective prevent existing eggs from hatching, while others are used mainly to prevent adult fleas from laying eggs.
- Topical Flea Treatment:
some topical flea treatments are available as over the counter medication. Regardless of what you buy, read the application instruction carefully and make sure you follow the recommended dose and frequency. Once again, a visit to veterinarian is better for the pets.
regular house cleaning using a vacuum cleaner is also helpful to minimize risk of flea eggs infestation on your pets. Make sure you cover all areas and dispose of the filter bag immediately. Vacuum your pets’ bedding (it is even better if you use steam cleaner) to get rid of any remaining fleas.
4 Ways to Get Rid Of Roach Eggs
One thing is certain about roaches: they like to hide and prefer dirty damp cluttered environment. If you want to get rid of them down to the last egg, you need to find the nest. In most cases, however, determining the exact location is almost impossible. Roaches also like dark places, so you may need to scan through cabinets or behind the baseboards to hunt them down. The only 100% effective method to kill roach eggs is to find them, take them out to the yard, and crush them. If you find it hard to find the nest, here are some things you can do to kill them.
- Boric Acid
Numerous eggs are packed together in a pile, so you can vacuum them and get rid of the filter bag. You can also burn the eggs and pour boric acid over them. For more environment-friendly solution, use a homemade mixture of baking soda and water. You may not be able to completely eliminate roach eggs because they can be found in multiple places, but at least you have control over their population in your home. Please put in mind that using chemicals or pesticides can be risky because the eggs are inside your home. If you find them in the kitchen, avoid using strong chemicals to kill the eggs.Natural roach repellents are also available. They are typically made from a combination of citrus, peppermint oil, cucumber peel, catnip, and boric acid. You may want to consider roach tablets too; these products contain both boric acid and lure to attract roaches. Lysol sprays are also effective.
This is the insecticide used by professionals for large scale applications. Cypermethrin is the strongest available solution to get rid of roaches and their eggs. This solution will also kill other insects such as millipedes and spider. Use Cypermethrin with precautions because it can be dangerous to pets and children. Do not use this in the kitchen.
- Regular Cleaning
Regular thorough cleaning is the simplest effective way to remove all dirt, debris, fleas, and roach eggs. Modern cleaning appliances including vacuum and stem cleaners actually do excellent jobs in removing irritating insects from your house. Powerful suction from vacuum cleaner and hot temperature generated by steam cleaner are most likely enough to kill all roach eggs and other insects. A steam cleaner can kill roach eggs instantly if it generates hot enough steam; on the other hand, vacuum cleaner will only put the eggs in the filter bag. To kill the eggs, put the filter bag into soapy water for several minutes.
- Insect Growth Regulator
IGR is a type of insecticide that mimics the hormone of young cockroaches. This chemical property disrupts the growth of insects and prevents them from reproducing. Although some IGRs are not effective to kill adult roaches, fleas, and mosquitoes, they work well to prevent roach eggs from hatching. Eggs treated with IGR may not hatch; even if they hatch, young roaches will not survive. If you use an IGR to kill adult roaches too, choose one that has insecticides as ingredients.