If you've ever suffered from a flea infestation in your home or abroad, or maybe you've lent your suitcase to a friend who is suffering from fleas in their house, you might be wondering if fleas could travel in luggage and follow you home.
Well, fleas could potentially travel in your suitcase and hide in there if your suitcase is left open in an area where there is a flea infestation, they can crawl in and hide easily without you knowing.
To find out more about fleas and travelling, we've put together an informational guide below which will cover how to know if you have a flea infestation in your luggage, how to get rid of fleas in your luggage, how long fleas can live in your luggage and some tips for identifying fleas and bed bugs when travelling to protect yourself.
How Do Fleas Spread?
To understand if you have fleas in your suitcase or not, we first need to understand how fleas spread and reproduce which can increase the likelihood of them hitching a ride with you.
Fleas spread fast and easy, what you might see on your suitcase or pet is only between 5-10% of what is actually around you, other than that they lay eggs in your upholstery or carpets, meaning the remaining 95% typically goes unseen.
Fleas spread through their lifecycle, which we will list below.
Adult fleas - These are what jump into your suitcase, skin, clothing or pets, they then feed on your blood as the host and lay eggs.
Eggs - Next the female lays eggs, one female flea can lay up to 50 eggs in one day, which is what makes them spread so fast, these eggs then drop in bedding and upholstery.
Larvae - Once the eggs have hatched they then release flea larvae, going into darker places before they release pupae. Pupae feed on debris which is why fleas can sometimes transmit diseases. The whole cycle can take up to 2 weeks or more.
How Do You Know If You Have A Flea Infestation In Your Luggage?
If you've recently travelled from abroad only to find some weird bites and rashes appearing on your skin, or maybe you've discovered somewhere you stayed was having flea issues, you might be wondering how to identify if your suitcase could be the source of the problem.
We've listed the main indications which show if you have a flea problem in your luggage below.
Bites - If you've recently travelled only to return and find that you're suddenly suffering from flea bites then your luggage might be to blame. Sharing beds with fleas from your suitcase can result in itchy red dots that either appears in a straight line or bends on your skin like your elbow folds.
Small black dots - Although hard to see, small black spots from fleas on clothes and luggage can indicate there is a presence of flea larvae in your suitcase, try running some white socks across the lining of your suitcase to confirm.
Your pet is scratching - It could be seen that adult fleas have jumped onto your pet from the suitcase, if you noticed that your beloved pet has started to scratch more than usual lately then this would show signs of fleas.
How Can I Get Rid Of Fleas In My Suitcase?
If you're pretty sure that you've brought home pest fleas into your house through your suitcase then you might be wondering how to eliminate them once and for all before these adult fleas lay flea larvae eggs.
We've listed some tips for getting rid of fleas on both your suitcase and clothes below as well as your home if they've already found their way in.
Getting Rid Of Fleas In Your Suitcase
Use flea powder - Flea powder is an easy and effective way to get rid of fleas in your luggage, or flea spray, simply put the product over the lining of your suitcase and wait for it to work.
Bag it - Another way to get rid of fleas in your suitcase is by putting it in a large plastic rubbish bag and tying it, leave the bag alone for several months, the fleas will then be cut off from the host and eventually die.
Throw it away - If your suitcase is old and no longer useful, it might be best to just throw it away and get rid of it, fleas are highly transmissible so sometimes it's just not worth it.
Getting Rid Of Fleas In Your Clothes
Wash on high heat - If your suitcase has adult fleas inside then so do the clothes most likely, make sure you unload your clothes and wash them on high heat settings straight away to avoid the possibility of bringing anything unwanted inside your closets.
Bag them - Just like your suitcase, the easiest option is to bag your clothes and items straight away, make sure the bag is airtight and the bed bugs/fleas will eventually die out when they are cut off from the source of hosts for blood.
Take to the dry cleaners - Any items that might have fleas which can't be washed at home, take to the dry cleaners and notify them of the issue.
Getting Rid Of Fleas In Your Home
Vaccum - Before treating the entire house for a flea infestation, you need to make sure you vacuum the area well beforehand to suck up any female flea larvae and get rid of the source of fleas.
Wash all bedding - Any bedding in your house like your pets, your duvet and blankets should be washed well in a hot cycle setting on your washing machine to get rid of insects.
Use a flea powder - Flea bombs and other treatments are not so great for your home and can leave lingering issues, instead, a flea spray or flea powder might be more effective to get rid of the flea problem inside of your home.
How Long Can Fleas Live For In Luggage & Clothes?
Adult fleas can live for a surprisingly long time in your suitcase and clothing according to the flea life cycle.
Fleas can live for up to two weeks in total without a blood meal and will not be able to lay eggs during this time, it should be noted that fleas like to grip on to clothing and fabrics which is how they travel from location to location.
Fleas do not ideally like living on humans and clothes however, their preferred home is on pets with warm fur and skin for feeding purposes.
Tips For Avoiding Fleas & Bed Bugs When Travelling
Realising you are getting bitten by fleas at a hotel or bed bugs when travelling can put a dampener on your trip, and the last thing you want to do is bring them back with you, so to help you avoid these pests, we've put together our best tips for avoiding them below.
Give hotel rooms a survey - As soon as you arrive at your accommodation, give the room a good survey, look for red and brown spots on bedding, a sweet musty smell, flea dirt
Lift bedding to look - Fleas and bed bugs are both nocturnal parasites, they tend to like many crevices like furniture cracks, hollow bedposts, box springs or even picture frames, make sure to pick up these places and look underneath for the bugs.
Keep your suitcase off the floor - When travelling, make it a habit to keep your luggage and items off the floor away from critters. This could be on a luggage rack, make sure it's not against the wall to stop insects from crawling up and finding their way into your items.
Double-check when home - Once returning home, examine your luggage well for any signs of bugs and fleas and open your luggage outside just in case you're not certain about where you've been staying.
Wash straight away - Take your clothes out of your luggage and wash them on the hottest wash setting possible straight away or in the dryer for about 15 minutes. Bed bugs can be very difficult to treat, so you might need professional pest controls to help.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fleas & Luggage
Will bagging items kill fleas?
Bagging items will kill fleas over time since they will be cut off from their blood-feeding source, the whole process might take a few weeks, however.
What could I put on my skin and luggage to repel fleas?
You can put some essential oils such as citronella or peppermint, fleas are naturally not attracted to these scents.
What should I do if there are fleas on my clothes?
If there are fleas on your clothes we suggest putting them in a hot wash straight away or dryer, you can also bag them for a few weeks or take them to the dry cleaners.
Can fleas bite through clothing?
Fleas cannot normally bite through clothing, but on thin clothes like yoga pants they might be able to get through, you will be able to feel fleas when they bite.
Are fleas easily transmissible through hotels?
Yes, if you stay in a flea-infested hotel or house you can pick fleas up through your clothes or luggage easily.
To conclude, fleas can travel in luggage if you stay in a flea-infested area, they can sneakily jump in and hide then infest your home once your suitcase is opened. To get rid of fleas in your suitcase you will need to use flea powder or flea spray, for clothes we recommend putting them on a hot wash.
Always try to scan hotels for fleas and bed bugs before staying to avoid picking them up and taking them home!
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