Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many pills, collars or flea sprays you give your dog – you just can’t seem to get rid of these pesky little parasites. Fleas are a common problem for our pets and our households, and can be found more frequently in humid climates, homes with lots of carpeting, and neighborhoods with feral cats in the area.
Owning an animal usually means that you’ll have to deal with these bugs too, no matter where you live; it simply comes with the territory. While a few flea preventatives and treatments here and there certainly won’t kill your dog, some canines are allergic to the saliva, and if swallowed fleas can reproduce as tapeworm inside your pet’s belly.
So, if you’re already taking the necessary steps for flea prevention but can’t seem to find a solution for your dog’s flea problem, and find these parasites around your home or backyard, consider using electric flea traps (also known as light flea traps). There are several brands, but here are the five best electric flea trap options (lightbulb and glue type) that we've tested and ranked in order of effectiveness and price-to-value ratio.
|Victor M230A Ultimate Flea Trap WITH Victor M231...||98 Reviews||$21.44||Buy on Amazon|
|BioCare Indoor Flea Trap with Lightbulb and Sticky...||530 Reviews||$19.99||Buy on Amazon|
|ASPECTEK - Trapest Sticky Dome Flea Bed Bug Trap...||3,178 Reviews||$12.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Qingyou Pumpkin Style Flea Trap with 2 Glue Discs...||1 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
|Happy Jack Pesticide Flea Beacon||93 Reviews||$28.40||Buy on Amazon|
The Lifecycle of a Flea
Generally, a female flea bites their host, which could be anything from a cat, dog, human, rat, and other small mammals that are easy to locate. Once she’s eaten, the flea will then begin to look for safe places to stash away her eggs. Since they’re so tiny, there is very little chance that you’ll ever be able to find them hidden in the carpet, bed sheets, pillowcases, and other warm, virtually undisturbed areas of the home.
However, they are there and need to be eradicated before your infestation gets out of control. Even if female flea decides to leave her eggs in your dog’s fur, there’s a good chance your pet will shake them out. Eventually, the eggs will produce larvae; these adolescent fleas will consume small pockets of blood left within the egg by the mother.
They will then create a cocoon once they’re strong enough, which will allow them to mature similarly to the way a butterfly or moth would. Only, instead of a beautiful butterfly, you’re left with a gross, bloodsucking parasite. To stop and/or prevent flea infestation in your home, you need to interfere with this lifecycle.
How Electric Flea Traps Work
Fleas are able to find their prey through probing for heat and blood vessels, and much like a mosquito, they do this through heat, movement and CO2 detection. Electric flea traps attempt to mimic the heat that your dog’s body produces. The idea is to attract them through light and heat, then catch them on a sticky trap or another restraining device that will incapacitate and/or kill them.
These flea traps work similarly to the glue traps used for mice and roaches; in fact, you might end up with some unintended guests on your trap, such as ants and spiders. The concept of these “devices” is very simple. Once you buy one, you'll see that there's a small light bulb that's hanging within the trap, and there's a sticky glue tray/pad underneath it:
Note that these products aren't always 100% effective. Some people have reported them not catching any fleas at all, or just a few. Others had more success, and it doesn't seem there's any way to tell exactly what's the reason for this haphazard pattern of their effectiveness. Several of our editors bought a number of most popular flea traps with light bulbs and sticky pads, and had varied results – but all of them caught fleas over the period of one month.
Are They Safe for Pets?
It's best to keep these traps out of reach for your pet. This can be tricky considering they need to at least be close enough to attract fleas. Adult canines probably won’t show much interest in the device anyway, but puppies and cats have a habit of being overly curious.
These traps generally are not dangerous to dogs and cats, but can create some problems should your pet try to investigate it closer. At worst, they'll get their paw stuck in the glue, and it may be difficult to remove it. Just wash off what you can, and the rest will eventually come off as debris and dirt loosens up the sticky glue material. As long as you buy a non-toxic brand, your dog will be okay if they happen to lick it.
It's not common for pets to get into these traps, but to prevent them you can find grated boxes at most dollar stores that still allow fleas to make their way inside the trap while keeping all your pets out of it. It's safer, but it may slightly limit the effectiveness of your electric flea trap (depending on the type of barrier you use).
There is another option: placing the flea trap up higher than ground level. But note that if it doesn’t catch any bugs over some time, you may need to move it again.
Location is Essential for Flea Traps to Be Effective
Placing an electric flea trap in the right place is extremely important when trying to reduce or eliminate your flea infestation problem. Fleas are going to be present in the areas of your home that receive the most traffic from your pets. If you’ve had your electric flea trap up for two or more days and haven’t seen any changes, you may need to move the trap to a different location in your house.
Overall, it may take some trial and error. Try to place them close to areas where your pets sleep and eat. It's wise to set up a trap near your doorway as well since your pet likely spends a lot of time going in and out to use the bathroom.
Other Protective Measures Will Make a Difference Too
If you’ve been using flea carpet powders and brushing your dog regularly while outside, you may see fewer fleas in your trap. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that your flea trap isn’t working, it just means that you taking the extra steps to eliminate the problem are working too. Continue keeping up the good habits, even if you do see fewer fleas in your home than usual. Here's our buying guide on these light flea traps.
The 5 Best Electric Flea Traps
1. Victor M231 Ultimate Flea Trap and Refills
The Victor flea trap is one of the highest rated traps available for these pesky blood-suckers, and out of those that we've tried, this one was the most effective. Operating without chemicals or harmful toxins, this trap has a sticky pad that stays under a light bulb. The light attracts the fleas as your pet moves near them. The Victor Flea Trap is also excellent for catching other annoying insect infestations like roaches and mosquitoes.
- 1 of Victor M230A Ultimate...
- 1 of Victor M231 Ultimate Flea...
Where some people may cast doubt on the use of electric traps, this one may just change the skeptic’s mind. However, note that like with all other flea traps, it highly depends on your home situation and environment. While some find it effective, others didn't have as much success. Another drawback of Victor Flea Trap is that several people have reported the item malfunctioning after just several days of use. While we haven't experienced that, it's something to keep in mind as more than one pet owner had this problem.
- Includes non-toxic refills
- Effective in catching and reducing the flea population in the home
- A light bulb will eventually need replacing, some defects
- Some complaints of ineffective sticky pads
2. BioCare Flea Trap with Lightbulb, Sticky Capture Pad
The BioCare Flea Trap is the second best option and a slightly different item. It has had more positive feedback on the effectiveness compared to Victor Trap, but the light may not be bright or hot enough to attract enough fleas. The flat surface seems to work a little better than dome-shaped traps, but there is an issue with the cord being a bit too short. This may be for precautionary purposes, but you can always buy an extension cord if necessary.
- Permanent indoor flea trap...
- Light and heat attract fleas...
- Non-toxic and pesticide-free;...
- Includes flea trap, lightbulb,...
- Replace capture pad every 3...
Like other traps, this is non-toxic for having around pets and the manufacturer claims that it attracts fleas from up to 25 feet away, though we didn't find that to be true. Generally, for this device to work, fleas have to be much closer to the trap to become attracted by the light. The price is slightly more expensive, but only need to replace it every three months. And once again, like with other flea traps, not everybody has success with it.
- Non-toxic, pesticide free
- Made in the USA
- Easy wall plug-in
- Some products were delivered with broken bulbs
- The power cord is too short
3. Aspectek Favored Sticky Dome Flea and Bed Bug Trap
The shape, size, and accessibility of the Apsectek electric flea trap is favorable in both cleanliness, and as a successful device in attracting fleas. The grooved edges around the outside of the dome prevent debris, dirt, and hair from floors, carpets, and countertops from collecting on your sticky pad.
- NON-POISONOUS - 100% effective...
- EASY USE - Easy & Safe to use...
- HEAT ATTRACTION - Trap is...
- HIGHLY CREATIVE DESIGN -...
Out of all five options we've seen, this the second best looking one (after the pumpkin one below), if that matters to your home decor, and with a more creative design than Victor or Biocare traps. In addition to fleas, the Aspectek has also been complimented for its ability to get rid of other nasty creatures like mosquitoes and flies. A small tip left by other customers is to add a drop of blood into the trap which is supposed to make it more effective. While we haven't tried that, this does make sense and is probably worth a try if you're having difficulty with this trap catching any fleas.
- Able to reduce the number of fleas, bedbugs, and other pests in your home
- The light bulb is much easier to replace
- Has a sweet scent, which might attract children and pets as well
4. Qingyou Pumpkin Style Flea Trap, Glue Discs and Bulbs
With a much cuter, and more aesthetically pleasing look to it, the Qingyou Pumpkin electric flea trap provides the protective boundary that others lack. Virtually silent, you can expect little to no noise with this flea trap where others might have a soft electrical hum. Thanks to the pumpkin style and shape, the Qingyou flea trap is easy to unplug and clean out without a hassle as the top and bottom half come apart and snap back together.
While it has somewhat of a cute exterior, it might spark curiosity for young kids in the home, which isn’t really what you want when jack-o-lanterns are so closely related to things like Halloween and candy. Also note that the first three products mentioned above are significantly more popular among dog owners and have been tested by a larger number of people, while the Qingyou trap is a new item on the market and is yet to prove itself among more users.
- Can be opened for cleaning and glue trap replacement
- 60-day money back guarantee
- More useful with larger insects than it is with fleas
- Could be confused for a toy because of the design
5. Happy Jack Flea Beacon
Last and, probably, least of the flea traps worth a mention is the The Happy Jack. This electric flea trap seems to work quite a bit faster than some of the other options on the list. While it still depends on how bad the infestation is, other customer reviews suggest that Happy Jack has been successful in catching a few fleas within the first day.
The design is far more simplistic than any of the other items mentioned above, and it's not as aesthetically pleasing to fit within the home decor as our 3rd and 4th picked options. Moreover, the price of this trap is same as most others and more expensive than Victor, but it's not more or less effective. If you're not buying any of the others, or haven't had much luck with them, it might be worth trying but it's unlikely to be better.
- Great product for catching gnats as well
- Comes with 6-7 replacements, where most traps only come with 2
- Lightbulb might need to be replaced more often than others
Use and Effectiveness of Flea Traps
Contrary to many articles and sites across the web claiming that electric flea traps don’t do what they’re supposed, we've found them to be relatively effective – i.e. there were fleas in our traps. Customer feedback and reviews from the list above would suggest their effectiveness too.
Most of these traps are non-toxic and pose little to no harm for medium and large pets. However, if you own a tiny dog, cat or rodents like guinea pigs or ferrets, you should know that they might also be drawn to the bright light and strange new object in the home, and you need to block access to the trap for them.
Electric flea traps do work, and they are useful as long as you set them up in the appropriate location with safety if mind.
Flat, square-shaped traps might be a better option for parents with young children; the last thing you want is to have to spend an afternoon peeling a glue trap off your kid’s face or off of your dog’s thick, fur-covered body. You’ll more than likely end up having to cut the trap out their fur and head to the groomer for what will surely be an expensive fix-up.
Traps are Only Meant to Slow the Cycle
You can’t just put out one of these electric flea traps and expect the problem to magically eliminate itself. Some people use them in the hopes that they can permanently reduce the cost of pill prevention, but these devices are not meant to be a replacement for regular veterinary care and flea preventatives for your pooch. Your dog always needs proper flea, tick and heartworm prevention through their monthly pill.
If your home is heavily carpeted, combat your flea infestation through regular “medicated” vacuum treatments and flea powders. Find a non-toxic, pet-safe flea carpet powder (like these) that is able to kill not just the adult fleas but their larva and their eggs as well. Evenly spread the powder over your carpet and be sure that your dog or cat is not in the same room.
Once you’ve allowed the powder to sit for about 20 to 30 minutes, you may vacuum it up. While you’re waiting, take your dog away from any areas that they regularly use as their restroom or for playtime, and brush out any eggs that are stuck within their fur. The purpose of doing this away from your dog's regular stomping grounds is to prevent eggs from dropping off in your yard or their play area.
While it may be a non-toxic mixture, the flea powder could trigger allergies in your pet so be sure that you finish the treatment completely before allowing your pup back into the room. At this time, set up your electric flea traps and give it at least 4 to 6 weeks before you expect to see the infestation completely eradicated.