Introduction: How to Catch Fleas

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

Having been laid up on the couch for a couple of weeks, I have come to discover what I had suspected all along, my apartment is infested with fleas. I've been making various efforts to get rid of the fleas, but it has been slow going since I have one arm in a sling and combatting fleas requires ungodly amounts of house cleaning.

Since I've been such a good host to these fleas, so many have moved in that I once in a while I might see one around. I've taken to catching them on pieces of tape and throwing them away (they are too small and too tough to crunch in your fingers). My girlfriend saw me doing this the other day and suggested that I should keep them in a jar (I suggested, in turn, that she should clean my apartment).

Anyhow, I took to her suggestion and have been catching fleas and placing them in a glass vial. Follows is everything you need to know to do it yourself.

Step 1: Get Fleas

Before you can catch fleas, you have to get fleas. To do this I highly recommend having your roommate get a cat.

Make certain that she never brushes, cleans, or cleans up after it in any regard. It particularly helps if she doesn't give the cat flea medicine regularly. This will help increase your chances of getting fleas in your apartment.

Step 2: Become the Host

In order to really catch fleas, you need to become the host.

I found the best way to do this is to have a two prong approach:

1. Get rid of the old host (the cat)
2. The next day, get shoulder surgery and lay on the couch for two weeks where the cat used to sleep

Step 3: Spread the Infestation

Once your shoulder starts to heal, you can move from the couch back into your bed, bringing the fleas with you to establish a new colony.

The more you sleep in your bed, the more fleas there will be!

Step 4: Bait Them

Using yourself as bait, move all of your blankets to one side of the bed and yourself to the other.


You may want to spend the meantime doing physical therapy stretches. When you are done, ice your shoulder for ten minutes, and then sit up and look at your feet. With any luck you will find one!

If there are none on your feet, check your ankles.

If there doesn't appear to be any there, scan around you on the bed.

If you are unsure what a flea looks like or how to distinguish it from a piece of black fuzz or lint, you can tell something is a flea because unlike fuzz or lint, fleas dislike being poked with wooden skewers and hop away. Try experimenting by poking various black dots and see if any hop.

(I recommend wearing socks if you are going to use your feet as bait)

Step 5: Catch Them!

The easiest way to catch a flea is with a small piece of gaffers tape. Swiftly press the tape down upon the flea.

This will cause the flea to be stuck to the tape.

Step 6: Put It in the Vial

Open the glass vial and place the piece of tape over the top such that the flea is in the center. Wait a few minutes and the flea will usually manage to escape on its own and trap itself at the bottom of the vial. Quickly peel off the tape and cover it back up with the lid, as fleas are expert jumpers and prone to escape.

If the flea doesn't free itself on its own, you can use the wooden skewer to help it along. Simply slide it between the piece of tape and the glass jar and gently poke at it a few times.

Be extra careful with this step, because as mentioned, fleas are expert jumpers and looking to escape. It helps to do a count after you have the lid back on to make sure they are all still there.

Step 7: Use Your Fleas

There are so many uses for a glass vial full of live fleas, that I could not possibly list them all.

I have yet to decide what to do with my vial, but "circus" is definitely high on the list.

Other possibilities include sea exploration, random number generators and exposing them to gamma radiation (and then getting bit by one, hence acquiring for myself superhuman powers).

Did you find this useful, fun, or entertaining?
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