How to Kill Fleas When They Jump on You

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To kill a flea, think of snapping rather than slapping.
To kill a flea, think of snapping rather than slapping. (Image: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

Fleas can jump up up to five feet, so if your pets have fleas you may be next. If you find yourself the object of a flea's search for blood, act fast: each female flea can lay up to 400 eggs during her lifetime, so killing her can significantly reduce the future population. But slapping a flea doesn't have the same effect as that action on a mosquito: fleas have a tough exoskeleton. To kill them, you also need to be tough.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap
  • Warm water
  • Petroleum jelly (optional)

Be vigilant: look for the flea if you have been a recent victim of one. Fleas can land on you and be gone again in less than a twentieth of a second. Once you spot the flea, be ready to strike.

Pinch the flea between your thumb and index or middle finger.

Squeeze tight and slowly make the motion as if snapping your fingers. This rolls the flea between your finger and thumb and basically shreds the flea's exoskeleton.

Discard the flea's body in a garbage can or wash it down the sink.

Wash your hands with soap and warm water after your kill.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're squeamish about snapping fleas, you can also keep a bowl or warm sudsy water near you. Once the flea lands on you, pinch it and dunk it in the water to drown it. You also can dab a glob of petroleum jelly on the flea when it lands.
  • Fleas carry disease. Always wash your hands after coming into contact with one.

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