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Pest Control/fleas in bathtub


Hi, I have a very similar problem to one posted by Lynn 5/23/2010- fleas in my bathroom and especially the bathtub despite not having any pets.  I was wondering whether you recall/were aware of any resolution of Lynn's problem? I moved into a one bedroom first floor apartment of an apartment complex in Austin, TX at the beginning of June and there have been fleas since I moved in.  I do not have any pets.  I had an exterminator spray the carpeted areas - bedroom and bedroom closet - for fleas July 3. I vacuumed the carpeted areas every day for 2 weeks, emptying the bag outside each time.  I then vacuumed every few days for 2 weeks.  Didn't see any fleas for the last 2 weeks, but then went out of town for a week.  When I returned, the fleas were back.  I've been thinking about it and I realized the fleas have always been most noticeable in the tub and the bathroom, which is hardwood floor.  So I've been checking - stomping my feet around the apartment - and the only place fleas have definitely jumped on me since the first flea treatment is in the bathroom. (I think they had gotten in the carpet before the first treatment, but it seems better now.  I did notice one flea on my ankle in the bedroom when I came back from out of town, but I may have carried that from the bathroom.  The second I went into the bathroom when I first came home 4 fleas or so jumped on my ankle.) And yes, I'm sure these are fleas.  Two exterminators confirmed it plus I've looked at numerous pictures of fleas.  They are tiny and black, with flat oblong bodies, long hind legs and a hard exoskeleton.  They jump very quickly.  Also I had bites all over my feet and ankles.  The only sources I can think of are the a/c vent, the fan or the drain.  Is it possible for fleas to survive in the drain, or would they drown?  Or maybe there's something in the wall or ceiling?  Any thoughts?  Also, do you know if diatomaceous earth or borax work to kill fleas?  Any help would be greatly appreciated!  Thank you!


It is common for fleas to carry over from one tenant to the next in apartments if the previous occupant had an infestation (see for general info about fleas and flea control). It is also possible that the origin of the fleas is an animal nest in the exterior walls or crawl space. Ask the exterminator to check under the apartment, if possible, or the exterior wall of the bathroom, especially if this is an older building. Fleas will not survive in drains. See the page cited above for control of fleas and post a follow up if you have questions.

Jack DeAngelis

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Jack DeAngelis


I can answer questions about the control of pest insects, spiders, mites and related arthropods. These household pests include termites, carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, nuisance ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, wasps, and many others. I can also answer questions about using pesticides and other pest control tools such as baits and traps.


I am a retired university extension entomologist. I've taught and conducted research in urban and agricultural entomology. I've published over 70 extension publications, 20 research publications and several books about insects.

Ph.D. in Entomology

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