The Flea Life Cycle

What is the most faithful bug in the universe? The flea! Once they find a dog or cat they like, they stick to them. So, if fleas commit for life, what exactly does that mean? Well, we have everything you need to know about these itchy little insects (and probably a bit more than you want to know).

A Close Look at the Flea Life Cycle

Stage One: An Egg is Laid

All fleas start their lives as eggs. And boy do female fleas have some laying power: an adult flea can lay between 10 and 60 eggs per day! And when you take into account the average lifespan of a flea—60 to 100 days, those eggs add up! In fact, one female flea can lay 2000 eggs!

The number of eggs and the reproduction rate of fleas depends a lot on their climate. You’ve probably even heard the myth that fleas go dormant during the winter. Unfortunately, we wish this one was true. But fleas happen to love the same temperatures we do. They thrive in temperatures from 75 to 95-degrees. They enjoy humidity.

Where do fleas lay those eggs? On your dog or cat. Some of the eggs get knocked onto the floor, their bedding, or elsewhere.

Stage Two: A Larva is Born!

After two days to two weeks, more than half of the flea’s eggs will hatch into developing larvae. Some eggs will stick around and hatch later on when the temperature and conditions are ideal.

These larvae have the natural instinct to hide from the light. This means they may end up in tiny dark crevices like between floorboards, under the bed, or deep in your carpet.

And like all babies, these proto-fleas need to eat. So, they spend about two weeks feasting on their favorite food: flea dirt. What is flea dirt? If you didn’t think flea larvae was charming enough, they feed on the feces of adult fleas. Ew! Right?

Stage Three: Cha-cha-cha-changes! Larvae to Pupae

While you probably associate cocoons with beautiful butterflies or moths, they are also an important part of the flea’s life cycle. After two weeks of eating poo, larvae spin themselves cocoons. This is when the larva goes into its pupae phase Where it will emerge a mature and hungry adult.

The pupae phase can differ in length depending on conditions. The adult flea will break free when the conditions are right. This may be two weeks or even several months. When they sense a tasty host to feed on, they pop out of their cocoons and come to life.

Stage Four: The Egg is All Grown Up: The Adult Flea

Adult fleas survive by indulging in a blood meal from mammals. After one meal, an adult female flea can start the cycle all over again by beginning to lay eggs.

Other Not-So-Sweet Flea Facts

  • Only 10% of the fleas potentially in your home live on your pet
  • Only 5% of fleas are at the adult stage at one time. The rest are eggs, larvae or pupae, waiting to mature.
  • The entire life cycle of the flea can last between two weeks and six months.
  • Fleas can carry tapeworm larvae and infect your pet with these disgusting parasites.

Stop Those Fleas in Their Tracks

Ending the flea life cycle is a matter of interrupting the cycle. Prescription flea medicine does just that.

Oral prescription flea medicines make their way through your pet’s system and wind up in your pet’s fat. When a flea bites your pet, they ingest the medicine which renders them sterile. This means any eggs they lay cannot survive.

Make Fleas Flee!

We have one more joke for you:

What did the dog on flea prevention say to the vet? 

“Long time, no flea!”

If knowledge is power, you’re one powerful pet owner with everything you need to know about fleas. So, it’s time to give us a call and make an appointment to scratch that itch your dog or cat can’t shake. Don’t try to fight a flea infestation alone, you’ll quickly get outnumbered and overwhelmed.

Protect your pet from fleas. Give us a call and schedule an appointment today!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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