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News Article

Vacuum Cleaners Can Eliminate Cat Fleas from Carpets

One-way trip for fleas encountering a vacuum cleaner

There are several reports on the use of vacuum cleaners for the physical removal of the egg, larval and adult stages of the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. However, once trapped in the vacuum cleaner, what happens to these fleas, one might ask? Two researchers from the Department of Entomology at Ohio State University have carried out studies to determine the fate of fleas 'captured' in this manner.

In a paper published in Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, researchers Fred Hink and Glenn Needham found that vacuuming resulted in an average of 96% adult flea mortality. They used a single model of an upright all-metal vacuum cleaner in their experiments. Once they had determined that neither the vacuum bags nor the moving air currents were responsible for the flea deaths they concluded that the vacuum cleaner brushes, fans or powerful air currents which threw the specimens against the internal surfaces as they passed through, killed the adult fleas.

They also observed that all pupae in coccoons and larvae were killed by the vacuuming process. Vacuuming adult fleas from carpeted floors killed 96% of them, and 100% of pupae and larvae. Although the authors of the study admit that their experiments have not considered how efficiently the vacuum performs in removing the different stages from the carpet, they do show that fleas are unlikely to survive following an encounter with the vacuum cleaner.

Vacuuming is lethal to all postembryonic life stages of the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. W. Fred Hink & Glen R Needham. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata (2007) 125, pp. 221-222. doi: 10.1111/j.1570-7458.2007.00615.x

Article details

  • Author(s)
  • U. Allen
  • Date
  • 09 January 2008
  • Source
  • Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
  • Subject(s)
  • Veterinary medicine