Can Fleas Drown in Water?

Fleas may appear to be very small. However, they are also one of the most dangerous blood-sucking pests in the world today.

Because of their blood-sucking ability, some people call them vampires for fun. Whereas, some other people believe that fleas have real superpowers which is why they don’t die very easily.

However, a good number of people believe that fleas can be drowned. But how true is this? Let’s find out in this article.

Can Fleas Survive Underwater?

The answer is a strange yes. But to understand it, let’s take a look at the biology of a flea.

You see, fleas have very light bodies; similar to that of mosquitoes.

Because of that, the surface tension on the surface of the water can withstand their body weight. So, they can float and even walk on water.

When they get to the region of water where they can no longer walk, the fleas tend to jump off and flee. If they don’t, they get submerged.

But even when submerged, fleas can remain underwater for up to a whole day. When they’ve had enough of the underwater world, they can swim up to the surface and fly off as usual.

Why Do Fleas Survive Underwater?

Well…. As said earlier, everything boils down to the biology of fleas.

The thing is, fleas have other special features aside from their light bodies. One of them is that their bodies are also covered by a waxy layer called the cuticle.

Aside from their outer body surface, this waxy cuticle also lines their respiratory organ – the trachea.

Altogether, the cuticle of their outer body and that of the trachea prevents water from getting into their body and their respiratory organ.

That way, the fleas can keep on breathing underwater. But occasionally, the fleas would have to re-surface to take in air.

Because, unlike fish, fleas which are insects, do not have gills. As such, they cannot tap from the oxygen dissolved in water.

Now, If Fleas Survive Underwater, Can Fleas Then Be Drowned? 

Well… oddly yes! But it all boils down to the kind of water in question.

You see, we pointed out earlier that fleas float on water because of the surface tension on water.

Now, if you remove the surface tension on the water, the fleas will automatically be submerged in such water. To do this, you can simply add a considerable amount of dishwashing liquid to the water.

However, under the water, the fleas are expected to survive, right?

Well… not quite. Because this time, the dishwashing soap you added to the water will break off the waxy cuticle that covers the body and trachea of the fleas.

That way, water can enter their body and trachea. In the end, the fleas get drowned.

So, when next you’re asked if fleas drown and die in soapy water, answer with a big yes!

However, there’s a catch-22 if you intend to kill your fleas by drowning them. And that is, you must find a way to make sure you get rid of all the lather made by the soap.

Likewise, you can also use non-foaming dish soaps like Jet-Dry. Because if the soapy water foams, the fleas can use the lather as an avenue to jump off and escape.

How to Drown Fleas on Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets?

Drowning fleas can be a bit tricky. Because if you don’t do it the right way, all efforts would be wasted. So, let’s look at one of the most effective ways to drown pet fleas in three simple steps:

  • Prepare a big bowl or bucket filled with soapy water

Make sure to remove all the lather or perhaps, you can use non-foaming dish soap like Jet Dry.

Although out there, some people even use Dawn soap to drown fleas. 

  • Submerge your pet into the soapy water with its neck out 

Dip your pet inside the soapy water. But make sure that the neck is out so that it can breathe.

Leave it in for about 3 minutes and take it out. Then, wash the neck and face area with soapy water.

Repeat the process up to five times. Along the way, you can bath the pet in an anti-flea shampoo as well.

  •       Wash off the pet

Use lukewarm water to rinse your pet’s body. It will help kill off any flea that’s still attached to its fur. Afterward, cage the pet.

The reason for that is to allow its fur to dry completely and to prevent it from running off into mud or tall grasses while its fur is still wet.

Alternatively, you can dry the pet with a hairdryer.

Precaution on Using Dishwashing Soap on Pets

The thing is, you might be tempted to continue using dishwashing soap to bath your pet regularly. Most times, people do this because they believe that this way, they can continue to make their pet flea-free.

However, this is a terrible idea. Because oftentimes, dishwashing soaps have a high dehydrating ability. That means, the more you use them, the more water they remove from your pets.

Not only that, but these soaps also tend to reduce the essential proteins and oils on your pet’s fur. That way, the pet’s hair becomes irritably dry and this can lead to several arrays of infections.

So, it’s better safe than sorry, right?

FAQs on Do Fleas Drown

How Long Does It Take for A Flea to Drown in Soapy Water?

Normally, fleas can survive underwater for at least one day. And that’s because fleas cannot really swim.

So, at some point, they will find a way to jump out of the water. It is for this reason that fleas won’t die when dogs or cats are simply swimming in a large pool.

This is because there’s no way your pet can stay in water for 24 hours. As earlier noted, 24 hours may even not be enough to drown the fleas.

However, in soapy water, the fleas will die long before the normal 24 hours.

Can Fleas Drown in a Washing Machine?

Yes, this can happen. Because oftentimes, the fleas on our pets can also infest our clothes and beddings. One way to get rid of such fleas is to dry-wash them in a washing machine.

To do this, you would need to wash your clothes in soapy water made out of dish soaps. Leave the machine to wash them as long as possible until you’re sure they’re neat.

Afterward, you can dry the clothes at about 1400F. At that temperature, the fleas would die off.

Final Word.

In this article, we noted that fleas can’t drown in normal water because of their skin cuticle and the surface tension of water. In fact, they can survive at least one day underwater.

However, in soapy water, the fleas will drown. Because for one, the soap will reduce the surface tension of the water. Then again, it will also destroy the flea cuticle.

However, there’s a catch-22 to using soapy water to drown fleas. Luckily for you, it’s all splattered over the lines of this article. Do well to find the answers you seek.

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