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[Edit with what actually worked] I found out that the fleas were in the slop sink. Once I scrubbed that daily, my issue was soon a thing of the past. The key for me was to scrub all areas thoroughly where they may be. I used a rough thin green sponge and threw it away after each scrubbing. I got 5 for a buck at the dollar store and they worked great. I didn't have to deal with carpet, so I can't speak to that, except that a beater bar seems to work for others as long as you clean the canister/or throw away the bag after each vacuuming.

[Original post - Spoiler alert: It was not the accordion exhaust tube for the washing machine, it was fleas in the actual slop sink that the tube emptied into.] The water exhaust hose from my washing machine is the accordion type and is harboring fleas. (I only figured this out three days ago.)

I thought I was getting to this end of my flea ordeal, but they kept popping up. It dawned on me that the washing machine exhaust hose had a build in trap (u shaped loop) and so I put some flea killing shampoo,diatomaceous earth, and water in there and got a bunch (30 or so) when I did the next wash.

This is the last place I have them (I think), so I am looking for a way to eliminate them from this hose. For the past 3 days, I've filled it with my flea killing shampoo,diatomaceous earth, and water concoction and closed off the end of the tube with some saran wrap and a rubber band, but I still get a few when I do a wash.

Has anyone else faced this? Any ideas on how to put the final kibosh on these last few remaining fleas? I also one or two creeping up from my slop sink and they keep coming back despite my concoction and best efforts (but only in the "slop sink" that I use as an exhaust for my washing machine). Thanks!

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  • Could they be drain flies? They're tiny and I can imagine someone calling them fleas. There's no one way to get rid of them, so I won't try posting an "answer," but if it is them, searching for or asking about "drain flies" might be more helpful than "fleas." – Steve Kass Aug 5 '18 at 23:27
  • @SteveKass, thanks for the input They were definitely fleas...See my answer below for all details. – Dan B Aug 20 '18 at 15:31
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Start your machine at the highest available temperature (usually 95 or 65°C). This should reliably kill all fleas and their eggs. I advice against washing with only 40°C, since the water pumped out already cooled inside the machine and continues to cool down in the hose.

Adult cat fleas die in temperatures colder than 46.4°F (8°C), and hotter than 95°F (35°C).
[...]
To kill fleas on clothing and bedding, it’s recommended to wash the items for 10 minutes at 140°F, and then dry at the highest heat setting.

(https://fleascience.com)

Check the hose for living fleas for the next several days. If there are still living fleas, you have to repeat the procedure.

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Thanks, @Elmy. Yes, this helped. I also ran the washing machine on "deep wash" or something like that to access all possible areas and ran it as hot as possible, but for anyone fighting this here is what really worked:

For testing, I tore up a paper towel into about 16 pieces and laid them all over the room. They love paper and seem to go to it. This is how I found them in various parts of the room and knew where to concentrate my efforts.

  1. Scrubbing the slop sink with thin layer of borax and a brush. This was answer number one. After plugging both the exhaust for the washing machine and the drain for the slop sink, I still had fleas in the slop sink. It dawned on me that the larvae were growing in the slop sink. I scrubbed it with borax and "Vet's Best Flea and Tick" spray and only one flea since in the sink.

  2. Scrubbing the bottoms of any detergent bottle. I had bottles of washing machine detergent on the dryer and I kept having fleas on the dryer. I finally scrubbed the bottoms of the bottles and the top of the dryer and that seemed to get rid of the rest of the larvae.

  3. Borax in the slop sink - thin layer applied after each wash. This probably was not necessary after scrubbing the sink, but I did it anyway just to kill any I might have missed before they could get out of the slop sink. From my research, the borax is eaten by the fleas and it rips them to shreds.

  4. Plugging both the slop sink and the exhaust for the washing machine when not in use and using hot water and the "deep wash" cycle when running it.

  5. Spraying the entire perimeter inside and outside of the house with Raid Max Bug Barrier.

  6. After spraying, I applied a 3-4 inch thin layer of borax along the perimeter of the room. This was in the basement and behind shelves, so it did not interfere with daily living. It killed most of the ones that spawned from the deep dark recesses that were missed by the bug barrier.

  7. I had several filing cabinets that I put on 1X4's to elevate them and be able to spray around and under. The favorite spot for the larvae was under the filing cabinets. It took several bottles of the "Vet's Best Flea and Tick" spray, applied at morning and at night, to clear them all as well as a little borax around the base of the filing cabinets.

  8. Running a dehumidifer in the room set to 40%. I had to empty it twice a day. Do NOT use an exhaust hose for the dehumidifer. I did this at first and they crawled into the dehumidifier basin through the tube. That took some nugging to figure out. A damp environment is perfect for fleas.

  9. Removed all carpets and Paper products from the area. Anything on a shelf seemed not to be bothered, so I left all files in place.

If you're here, I feel for you. All I can say is to be persistent and do not give up, do not give in. You will have doubts and want to bomb the entire place. I don't think that would have helped as I had them in tubes (dehumidifier, washing machine, and drain). I can't imagine how the bomb would have penetrated them all. Nothing wrong with a good flea bomb in a pinch. If we had carpet, I'm pretty sure that would have been a necessity. Thank God I didn't have to find out.

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