The short answer is yes, most general insect repellents will repel fleas. However, there are a lot of variables on how effective it will repel, or if it will even repel at all. In order to answer this question, we need to take a look at a couple of different things.
We need to dive into what exactly mosquito repellent is and how it works, the different brands and ingredients, and then we need to take a look at fleas and how they react to the mosquito repellent.
Once we have looked at all the information we will be able to determine the question, of “will mosquito repellent repel fleas?”
First, let’s talk about mosquito repellent. The term mosquito repellent usually refers to a general bug spray that is used to keep some bugs off of a surface.
These substances are applied to skin, clothes, or other surfaces and once applied; insects will not land on, or bite that surface for a period of time.
These repellents then protect from different diseases that are contracted from bugs, such as West Nile fever from mosquitoes. One of the active ingredients in these sprays is a chemical called DEET.
This is what will repel the mosquitoes and other bugs. Some brands will contain more DEET, and some brands won’t have any at all. There are even natural alternatives that supposedly repel insects as well. For the sake of this question let’s focus on a general insect repellent available at most stores and contains about 25-30% DEET.
Now, let’s look a little closer at fleas. These are very small insects that live off of the blood of mammals and birds. Their very design enables them to travel through hairy/furry surfaces and their mouths are perfect for cutting through skin and sucking blood.
While they are unable to fly, they have the ability to jump into the air at more than 50 times the length of their body. These are common to have on household pets like dogs and cats because they provide the perfect host environment.
While we as humans are susceptible to fleas, it is a lot less common because of our lack of bodily hair. But it is still possible. Fleas will usually land on the surface and find the perfect spot before they use their mouth to latch on.
This means that if we have something on the surface of our skin, say DEET, then the flea will not want to land on the skin, and they will immediately try to go somewhere else. DEET works by changing the smells off of your skin and confusing the insects into thinking you are not food.
Now let’s take a closer look at the question and different scenarios. As stated above, yes most insect or mosquito repellents will repel fleas, especially ones containing DEET.
However, this is only a temporary effect and will only work for a couple of hours before the need to reapply. Also, this will only repel the fleas; it cannot kill adult fleas and won’t stop them if they are already infesting the surface you are spraying.
In order to get rid of an infestation they have certain flea killing sprays that you can use. These are often easily available and can be purchased at most local stores.
These sprays will use different chemicals than mosquito repellents and will actually kill the fleas on contact. Some sprays even have the capacity to kill hatching eggs up to a certain amount of time, like a few months.
You must be careful though because some sprays are meant for fabric surfaces only, and can cause harm if they come in contact with skin. However, they also have options for flea killers for pets, and even for humans.
So in conclusion, yes mosquito repellent will repel fleas by confusing their ability to smell you as food. However, you need to choose the right kind of repellent either containing DEET, or if it specifically says on the label that it will repel fleas.
These options will repel fleas, but only for a certain amount of time before you need to reapply the spray. If you already have an infestation of fleas, then the mosquito spray will have very little effect and you must use other products to get rid of the fleas.
The Fast Knockdown Team is tired of hearing news of people being hospitalized or even killed by mosquitoes with their deadly diseases. Fast Knockdown is a trusted mosquito resource site, where we discuss the best mosquito killer and other mosquito information. We aim to mitigate the health and economic issues, and the plain suffering caused by these bloodsucking mosquitoes.