Warm cracks and moist gaps in hardwood floors can provide a habitat for fleas. If you keep indoor pets, fleas are always found on their bellies. Pets lie down while playing and that is how fleas get on and off them. After the female has had a blood meal, they hide in the wood crannies on the floor to breed and lay eggs.
Fleas cannot survive on hardwood floors for more than 2 weeks without a host. Therefore, the first control step is to treat and keep pets away. Sprinkle salt in cracks and gaps on the floor and let it sit overnight. Then mop with soapy water and squeeze its foam into the cracks to kill fleas and their eggs.
Soapy water can kill fleas on contact and it is one of the best ways to get rid of them in hardwood floors. However, do not use extra strong detergents daily in large quantities because they can destroy the floor after some time. The floor should also not be soaked in too much water to avoid bending and damage.
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Can fleas live in hardwood floors?
Fleas can live in hardwood floors but they will not last for 2-4 weeks if they can not find a blood meal. They need hosts like cats, dogs, or birds in the house that they can feed on. Since they are external parasites, they like hiding in wooden floors because they can easily hop onto their prey.
The female needs blood from a host in order to breed and lay eggs. Without that, they can never multiply as required. If you get rid of all the pets, they will bite you just to get blood. Generally, fleas cannot live without pets or any host that they can have blood.
Hardwood floors accumulate moisture and if there are any cracks on them, fleas can hide and live in them. For them to breed on your floor, they need to have a consistent host. The warmth and moisture make a good habitat for them because they easily hydrate but blood is the most important factor.
Fleas also infest hardwood floors during the cold seasons because the flooring can retain heat from the house and remain warm. Moisture is also present because the heat will interact with cold air to form humidity which keeps the floor moist.
Since hardwood flooring does not get cold like tiled or cemented floors, fleas can live in them as long as the temperature is 46°F or more. For a wooden floor to last, the temperatures should always be maintained at 60°F-80°F. Those temperatures are not deadly to fleas and they can comfortably breed at that.
How to get rid of fleas on hardwood floors
Before mopping to remove fleas on hardwood floors, note that most detergents and chemicals can damage it. Too much water can also soak and cause bumps on the floor. Always dilute any detergent before use and any pesticide should be checked with the manufacture for advice and safety.
If you have to try something new, test it on a very small portion first, and let it sit for 6-12 hours to see if there is any reaction. For example, rubbing alcohol or bleach can kill fleas but you should not use them on hardwood floors because they can cause instant damage to the finishing. Here are some simple hacks and tricks:
1. Block the gaps and cracks
Find a way to fill the spaces between hardwood flooring because that is where fleas and other bugs hide. Fleas cannot live on the floor surface because it is too exposed. They have to hide in any cranny they find. Sealing those is one of the best measures because if they are trapped in there, they will starve t death.
You can fill those gaps by applying putty, caulk, or wood filler on them. Those can help in restoring the floor to its original look if done correctly. Fleas, therefore, have nowhere to hide and they will find alternative habitats. Filling those cracks and gaps should be a priority because it will reduce the infestation significantly.
2. Dawn dish soap
Dawn dish soap is toxic to fleas and it can kill fleas on hardwood floors by drowning. However, it can also damage your flooring if applied in large quantities. Remember, it is a detergent, and too much on it on a wooden surface can soak up the quality finishing on top. Dilute it is since just a small quantity is sufficient.
To kill fleas on a hardwood floor, sweep them first. Pour 5 liters of warm water 85°F-100°F into a bucket. Then add 10 ounces of dawn dish soap into the bucket. Deep a soft hand towel into the solution, wring to remove excess water, and use it to wipe the infested areas. Let the solution get into any gaps you see on the floor since that is where fleas hide.
3. White vinegar
White vinegar can remove fleas from hardwood floors. However, never use pure vinegar on wooden floors because it can remove the glossy sheen. Combine equal parts of white vinegar and water and spray it on the infested areas. Let it settle and dry up on its own since there is no need to wipe it out.
Vinegar is naturally acidic and should never be used without water on hardwood floors. It may not damage it instantly but it removes the finishing with time. Long usage will result in a faded floor that looks old and worn out. Spraying white vinegar on hardwood floors can also discourage flea infestation.
4. Salt and baking soda
Salt can kill fleas on hardwood floors and this provides a naturally safe and efficient control measure. However, it does not kill them on contact. It takes time for it to drain them and they have to be covered in it. You need to identify the infested areas and sprinkle them generously.
Baking soda can also be mixed with salt for efficiency. Those two can be mixed in equal proportions to kill fleas on wooden floors. After spreading the mixture, let it settle for 1-2 days. It is an efficient but slow measure and those who need instant results can go for the other alternatives listed above.
The advantage of using Pine-Sol on wooden floors is that it will also remove stains and kill other pests like ants and bed bugs. Add 4 ounces to every 2 liters of water and use this to mop the infested areas. It is safe to add this to your cleaning bucket 2 or 3 times a week until all the fleas are gone.
On the other hand, do not use pure Pine-Sole on hardwood floors every day because it can damage the finishing. Dilute it as stated above and avoid hot water because the damage can be accelerated. If possible, use it to mop once a day after+ and keep the pest away if you can.
Fleas on hardwood floors with no pets
Fleas can still infest your wooden floors even if you do not have pets at home. However, this depends on your environment because pests like rats and mice can also invite fleas. Those rodents can chew holes into your wooden floors and live down there.
Fleas can survive on rats and mice but only if the infestation is very high. To control them in such a scenario, you have to get rid of the rodents fast. A large infestation needs a pest control advisor because simple hoe made rat poisons may not work well in this case.
Your environment can also lead to a flea infestation with no pets at home. When it is cold outside, fleas thrive indoors and any gaps on your hardwood floors will provide a warm and moist habitat for them. A pest-infested environment that is full of squirrels and bats will encourage fleas because they can still find a blood meal.
However, controlling fleas on hardwood floors without pets at home is easier because you can easily starve them. Simply remove anything that is covering the infested floors and mop it with soapy water. Pours Epsom salt for fleas into the crannies or gaps and let it settle in there. Repeat this daily for a week to kill all of them.