If you think bed bugs are the only bugs that can bite you in bed, then think again.
Many bugs can do that. And fleas are one of them.
But how do you know there are fleas in your bed?
In this guide, you’d find out six signs of fleas in bed that you either don’t know or you can easily ignore.
Some of the signs are so tiny that, at times, it can be impossible for you to spot them or your naked eye can’t detect them.
But you’ll learn how to do spot those signs of fleas in bed.
As a bonus, you’ll also find out three proven ways to get rid of fleas in your bed.
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Can Fleas Live In Your Bed?
Before you get into the signs of fleas in bed, it’s essential to know if fleas can live in your bed.
It’s because by knowing it, you’d realize the root cause of fleas in bed.
Yes, fleas can live in your bed.
But there’s more to the answer.
Your bed isn’t an ideal habitat for fleas like it is for bed bugs.
Fleas get into your bed in three ways which you’ll find later in the post.
But for now, keep in mind, that when they’re in your bed they’ll latch onto any host, which most of the times is you, to bite and drink blood.
Strangely though, humans are not an ideal host for fleas. Animals with fur, birds, and other animals are fleas’ hosts.
But for the sake of survival in your bed, fleas will bite you and drink your blood.
6 Signs Of Fleas In Bed That Are Hard To Spot
There are six significant signs of fleas in bed that will answer your question, “are there fleas in my bed.”
Three of these signs are so tiny that you might not see them with a naked eye.
You’d need a magnifying glass to see them.
So how do you know there are fleas in your bed or home. There are the six signs of fleas in bed and home –
- Flea dirt
- Flea bite marks
- Flea eggs
- Flea larvae
- Flea skin
- Alive adult fleas
Flea Dirt On Bed
Flea dirt, which is flea feces, is like tiny black pepper-like grains on your bed.
It also look like tiny dirt particles on your bed. That’s why flea feces is also known as flea dirt.
Fleas discard where they hide, and if they’re hiding on your bed, they’ll not hesitate to do that.
So, how to be sure if those dirt particles are flea feces?
On spotting the flea dirt, pour some water on it.
If it turns red. That means it’s flea feces.
But here’s a catch.
You may confuse flea dirt with bed bug fecal marks. But there’s a significant difference between the two.
Flea feces are dust-like particles, whereas bed bug fecal marks are small black spots on the bed.
To take a deep dive into the differences between flea dirt and bed bug feces, read our post on flea dirt vs. bed bug feces.
Flea Bite Marks On Your Body
Flea bite marks on your body are also a prominent sign of fleas in bed.
Flea bite marks are tiny random red marks on your skin that itch a lot.
But how can you know for sure that it’s a flea bite mark, not a bed bug bite mark?
It is difficult to tell, but there are some crucial differences between flea bite marks and bed bug bite marks.
First, fleas bite on the lower half of your body, especially on skin folds of ankles, elbows, and knee bends.
In contrast, bed bugs can bite all over your body including on the neck.
Second, the most important, difference is the shape and pattern of the bite marks.
Flea bite marks are smaller in size than bed bug bite marks. Flea bite marks look like acne or pimples, whereas bed bug bite marks have a bit of swelling.
Bed bug bite marks generally grow larger in 24 to 48 hours, but flea bite marks don’t change in size.
Third, flea bite marks don’t have a pattern like bed bug bite marks. Most of the time, flea bite marks are random.
But bed bug bite marks are in a string.
It’s because bed bugs bite multiple times in a straight-ish line till they find the right spot to suck your blood.
Are Flea Bites Dangerous To Health?
Yes, flea bites can have a significant risk to your health, especially when you’re allergic to bug bites.
You’d develop rashes and can get allergic attacks like sneezing, swollen eyes, and running nose.
The bitten area can also swell and may develop into a blister. If you puncture the blister or anything stabs it accidentally, then it can lead to infection.
Fleas can also infest human skin by burrowing themselves into the human skin. This condition is known as tungiasis.
The most common places that it can happen are the feet and the ankles. Fleas die in two or so weeks once they drill inside your skin. That leads to severe infection.
So, if fleas have bitten you, it’d be best to consult a physician.
Flea Eggs On Bed
Now you’re getting into the signs of fleas in bed that are hard to spot.
You’d need a magnifying glass to see these signs.
Flea eggs on bed is a sign of fleas in bed that can you can easily mistake them for salt grains.
It’s because they’re tiny. They measure only 0.5 mm in length, which is one-hundredth of an inch.
But the flea eggs are oval, which is a crucial difference between the salt grains and flea eggs.
If you see something similar to salt grains on your bed, do one thing.
Pick the flea egg by using a pincher. And keep it on a piece of black paper.
Now watch it under a magnifying glass.
If it’s a flea egg then it’d be soft, oval, and off-white.
Remember, if fleas are in your bed, then they’d lay eggs on your bed sheets, bed mattress, and pillows.
And if there are flea eggs on bed, then the egg will hatch. That brings the next sign of fleas in bed, the flea larvae.
Flea Larvae On Bed
Flea larvae look like off-white tiny worms with a thin layer of bristles on their body.
They’re 0.08 inches to 0.2 inches long, which is 2-5 mm.
Flea larvae can be hard to spot. On top of being microscopic, flea larvae don’t roam around on your bed often.
They spend most of the times hiding in the thin gaps and cracks on the bed.
But they do come out to feed, which is the the flea dirt or flea feces of the adult fleas.
Flea larvae don’t bite humans, neither can they live on humans.
It’s because they need to go through the process of molting, which is shedding their skin, and the pupae stage before they turn into an adult that bites and sucks blood.
Flea Skin On Bed
The flea larvae shed their skin twice before they get into the cocoon.
This life stage is known as the pupae stage.
Sightings of tiny thin off-white and transparent larval casings on bed are the signs of fleas.
Again, the skin casings can be hard to spot. You’d need a magnifying glass to confirm if it’s a shed-skin (exuviae) of fleas.
Under the magnifying glass, the shed-skin will look like a soft tiny white tubular casing.
In the pupae stage, or inside the cocoon, the flea will shed it’s skin twice before an adult flea breaks out from it.
As the flea larvae hide in the thin gaps of the bed frame, you might not come across the flea skin on your bed sheet.
But you’d find them underneath the mattress, between the gaps in the headboard, and on the bed frame.
Adult fleas don’t shed their skin.
Alive Adult Fleas On Bed
Finally, there’s no prominent sign of fleas on bed than adult fleas jumping on the bed right there in front of you.
Do not confuse these fleas with bed bugs or dust mites.
Bed bugs are brown, oval, and flat. And they don’t jump as far as fleas can because bed bugs don’t developed legs as fleas have.
How Do You Get Fleas In Bed?
Now that you know all the six signs of fleas in bed, you must be wondering where do fleas come from in your bed?
How did fleas get onto your bed?
There are three ways that fleas can get to your bed.
Your Dog Has Fleas And Sleeps On Your Bed
A pet dog, or cat, is after all a family member.
And if you’ve a pet dog, you won’t mind at all if your dog sleeps on your bed.
But that is the major way that fleas get onto your bed. If your dog has fleas, then a few fleas will jump off from it’s body and land on your bed.
Not just in your bed, your pet dog can transfer fleas in any soft furnishings like couches, carpets, rugs, and, not to mention, pet beds.
But how do fleas latch onto your pets?
Fleas live and breed in tall grasses around moist surroundings in outdoors, or in your yard or garden.
When your pet dog walks or runs through those overgrown vegetation then fleas and ticks can latch onto your dog’s skin.
And when the dog hops onto your bed, straight from those flea infested places, it transfers the fleas to your bed.
So, if your dog has fleas, can you get them? Yes, without a doubt.
If your dog shows signs of having fleas, like scratching constantly, then it’d be best if you take your dog to the vet for flea treatment.
You Bring The Fleas Home To Your Bed
The second way that fleas can get onto your bed is from you.
In the same way that your dog brings fleas home.
When you walk through the overgrown vegetation in your yard, or outdoors, the fleas living there will latch onto your clothing.
The major portion of your body where fleas latch on is below the waist region.
Walking through those tall grasses will make the fleas and ticks hitchhike to your home by getting stuck on your trousers and socks.
And if you put those fleas infested clothes in your bed or elsewhere in your home, there you go, you just brought fleas home.
Fleas In Bed But There Are No Pets At Home
The third, and the final reason for fleas in bed is that when a flea infested animal introduces fleas in your home and property.
This is quite rare in an urban environment but over the years many homeowners have reported fleas in bed despite not having any pets at home.
Wildlife like racoons, opossums, skunks, rats, mice, and squirrels can transfer fleas into your home.
The most common pathways of these animals to enter your home is the attic or the crawl spaces.
Another reason for fleas in home and bed despite no pets is when the old tenant or homeowner had pets and they left fleas behind.
There are also chances that there are flea eggs and larvae when you moved into your home. And they matured into adult fleas.
Can Fleas Survive On Human Blood?
That’s a tricky question to answer. The answer is yes, but that’s not what fleas prefer.
Fleas prefer to survive as a parasite on your pets. It’s your pets’ blood that fleas prefer.
But, if you remove the pet from your home, or if fleas are hiding in your bed, then they don’t have any option but to bite you and suck your blood.
If there are fleas on your bed, they’ll latch onto your pet once your pet hops onto your bed.
So, it’s always a good practice not to let pets sleep on your bed or upholstery often.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Bed Naturally?
Now, you’re an expert in spotting the signs of fleas in bed.
And you also know how fleas land up on your bed.
But this knowledge is futile if you don’t take steps to kill fleas in your bed.
In this section, you’d learn how to get rid of fleas in bed.
The best part?
You don’t need to hire a pest controller to do it. You can do it by yourself, with a little bit of patience.
Below are the five steps to kill fleas on the bed, and home, and secure your bed from further flea attacks.
Steam Clean Your Bed To Kill The Hiding Fleas
Like bed bugs and bed worms, fleas hide in the cracks and seams of the bed and mattresses.
To begin with, remove the bed covers, pillow covers, and bed sheets from your bed.
You’ll find out what to do with them in the next section. For now, let’s focus on your bed frame and box springs.
Now, steam clean your bed thoroughly. Steam cleaners produce heat.
And the heat from the steam cleaner will kill all the fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae, and flea pupae hiding in the bed.
Using a steam cleaner on the bed is a proven and best way to kill flea larvae on bed.
(Every home must have a steam cleaner and a packet of diatomaceous earth. In our opinion, these two are the best yet most underrated pest killers.)
While steam cleaning, ensure that you’re doing it slowly and you’re covering every inch and corner of your bed.
Hold the hose of the steam cleaner a bit longer on the cracks and gaps on the bed frame.
Also, exert a bit of pressure with your hand while using it on the seams of the mattress.
If your bed has a headboard, then remove the headboard and steam clean that as well.
It’s not only fleas that can hide in the headboard, but also bed bugs.
Don’t forget to clean the back of the headboard, especially when the headboard is stuck with the wall.
If you don’t have a steam cleaner, use a vacuum cleaner.
But after vacuuming, do not dispose of the dust bag of the vacuum cleaner trash bins inside your home.
It’s because fleas are good jumpers. They’d jump out of the trash bins and hide again inside your home.
But there’s one drawback of using a vacuum cleaner. Vacuum cleaners may remove the fleas and their eggs, but it won’t kill them.
If you don’t vacuum well, then you’ll not get rid of flea eggs, nymphs, and pupae.
These will mature soon to become adults and re-infest your bed.
To manage the risk, scatter food-grade diatomaceous earth on the mattress, bed frame, and headboard.
Food grade diatomaceous earth is safe for you, children and pets.
And most importantly, diatomaceous earth kills fleas, and many other tiny bugs.
After scattering the diatomaceous earth, let the diatomaceous earth settle down.
After an hour or so, slowly vacuum clean all corners of your bed frame, headboard, and mattress.
Prepare A Flea Killing Spray With Vinegar And Water
Mix one portion of white vinegar with two equal quantities of water.
You can also mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil or citrus essential oil with the mixture.
Essential oils will make the flea-killing spray more powerful.
Now, pour the spray into a spray bottle. Shake it well, and then spray it on all the corners of your bed.
Do not forget to spray the mixture on the cracks on the bed, the places where nuts and bolts are, and on the headboard.
And of course, don’t miss the mattress.
White vinegar is acidic which kills many pests, including fleas.
And essential oil, especially peppermint essential oil, has insecticidal properties that repel fleas.
Leave your bed idle for an hour.
As an alternative, you can also use a flea killer spray for pets on bed.
Wash The Bed Sheets, Pillow Covers, And Other Bed Covers In Warm Water To Kill The Fleas
Washing the fabrics on the bed in hot water will kill any fleas living on them.
After washing, put them in a dryer. That’ll ensure all the fleas, if any, on the bed fabrics are dead.
Vacuum Or Steam Clean The Other Soft Furnishings In Your Bedroom To Kill Hidden Fleas
Again, fleas are good jumpers, and they move around quickly.
If they’re on your bed, then chances are they are also hiding in the soft furnishings like rugs, carpets, upholsteries, and drapes and curtains.
Vacuum clean, preferably, steam clean those furnishings too.
If there are any pet beds in your home, wash and clean them as well.
As a precautionary measure, do not dispose of the vacuum cleaner dust bag inside your home.
And Finally, Treat Your Pet For Fleas
As you know, your pet can be a major spreader of fleas in your bed and home.
Fleas in bed is a clear sign of possible fleas on your pet. And there can also be fleas in the yard.
So, check your pet for fleas and take your furry family member to a vet.
To treat your yard for fleas, cut down any overgrown shrubs.
And control the moisture and dampness of your yard or garden by using right amount of water and by fixing any water leakages.
Then, don’t forget to use any flea spray for outdoors to kill the fleas in yard.
There are other tiny bugs like fleas that can be in your bed. These are bed bug look-alikes and you can easily confuse them with bed bugs.
To conclude, here are the six signs of fleas in bed –
- Flea dirt
- Flea bite marks
- Flea eggs
- Flea larvae
- Flea skin
- Alive adult fleas
On top of that, you found out how fleas get onto your bed and how you can get rid of them.
To know more about cheap home products that kill fleas, read our post on 11 home products that kill fleas.
We’re Mark and Jim. We were serial pest killers for almost all of our lives. Through this blog we spread pest murdering tips to people like you who want to keep their homes pest free.