A flea problem on your pet means a flea problem in your home. Understanding the flea life cycle and methods for its control can be a daunting task. We will gladly assist you in this process. We can provide you with safe, effective flea prevention and if necessary, flea treatment.
Fun, Interesting Facts about Fleas
Fleas are a universal pest, affecting all warm-blooded vertebrates from bats and birds to the family cat and rabbit. They can be hard to control and even harder to kill, but knowing some interesting facts about their life-cycle can make eradicating a flea infestation a little bit easier!
- There are at least 2000 known flea species around the world. By far the most common species affecting domestic animals, both cats and dogs, is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis.
- Most fleas are very small, measuring only about 1/16″ to 1/8″ (1.5 to 3.3 mm), but living on mountain beavers in the United States is a monster flea. Hystrichopsylla schefferi has been recorded to reach lengths of 1/2″ (12 mm)!
- Fleas have a darkly colored, hard body that is laterally flattened (squished from side to side). This body shape helps the flea to move between the hairs or feather on its host’s body.
- Fleas are commonly the cause of superficial skin irritations and dermatitis. They cause a condition called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) which can lead to red, inflamed, very itchy patches. They can also be vectors for more serious diseases and parasites, including the bacteria that cause typhus and bubonic plague, as well as tapeworms.
- Fleas have 4 stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult.
- The larger female flea must have a good blood meal before she is able to lay anywhere from 40 to 50 eggs a day! Although flea eggs are laid in the fur or hair of a host animal, they are designed to roll out easily and continue to develop in the environment.
- Larvae hatch out in the environment, carpets and baseboards of family homes. Although they are completely blind, they are considered to be negatively phototaxic, meaning that they can sense light, and that they avoid it. They crawl down into cracks and crevices and search for food. Flea larvae feed primarily on dried blood in adult flea feces, as well as shed skin, fur and feathers.
- Once the flea has reached the pupa stage it can remain dormant for several months until the conditions are right for the adult flea to emerge. Pressure, vibrations, presence of carbon dioxide, correct temperature and humidity are all indicators that a suitable host may be nearby and the adult flea can emerge.
- Adult fleas can only survive a short time without a suitable host to feed on.
- The multiple stages of a fleas life cycle can make them very difficult to kill. Short-term treatment, or only treating the adult fleas on the host animal will not successfully eradicate the flea population. Adults only make up a very small part of the population, and the majority of the population is living as eggs and larvae. Any flea treatment needs to be comprehensive to tackle all life stages, and be ongoing for at least 6 months.