ICS Magazine

Vacuuming kills fleas, researcher says

December 21, 2007

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Vacuuming fleas kills the pesky insects, a retired Ohio State University entomology professor says.

W. Fred Hink said he made the finding in the early 1990s, but didn't try to publish his research until reminded about it by current OSU entomology professor Glen Needham last year, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported Tuesday.

Hink found his research paper, and the two got the work published in a recent issue of a Dutch entomology journal.

Hink originally sought to investigate how effective moth crystals stored in a vacuum cleaner were at killing fleas. He secured funding from vacuum maker Royal Appliance and began his investigation.

First, he tested a vacuum cleaner without moth balls on 100 fleas on a carpet. After waiting about two hours, he opened the vacuum bag.

"Surprisingly, almost all were dead," Hink said, according to the newspaper.

He repeated the experiment five times and found an average of 96 adult fleas died each time. In every experiment, 100 percent of flea larvae and pupae were killed.

Hink and Needham said they suspect a combination of the vacuum's beater brush and all the banging around inside the vacuum damaged a waxy coating that protects the tiny insects.