Do fleas live in water?

One of our readers asked, “Do fleas live in water?”

Daphnia are commonly called water fleas although they are not fleas from the family Siphonaptera–which are the ones you are probably asking about.

Fleas have a waterproof waxy coating that is often called an epi-cutical layer. This waterproofing is why fleas survive and escape watery deaths.

To prevent escape people add a small drop of dish detergent to any solution place under a flea trap. The solution breaks down the protective coating and the fleas drown.

This is also why, if you use flea combs on your pet, the right way to clear them from the comb is to dump them into a light sudsy water solution.

People also will use a small amount of dish soap in a yard sprayer to help drown any fleas in the yard.

So, although fleas don’t actually live in water as their habitat, fleas can survive being dumped in water prior to their escape unless you take the precaution of adding a little suds to the water.