Understanding the Flea Life Cycle
Welcome back to part four of our six-part flea prevention and treatment series. If you haven’t yet, make sure to read the previous installments here. In this portion, we will take a minute to discuss the life cycle of the flea. Our hope is that this will help you better understand why flea prevention is important and how flea problems can quickly escalate if left untreated.
If you want to have any hope of controlling fleas and preventing any of the flea-caused disease conditions, you must first understand their life cycle.
The first thing you need to understand is that the adult flea, which accounts for about five percent of the infestation, will lay about 500 eggs in her lifetime. What this means to you is that 20 fleas will become 10,000 fleas in a very short period.
Most of the time, fleas lay their eggs, which accounts for nearly 50 percent of the flea infestation, on their host. The eggs are completely smooth, so they slide off the host and land in its environment — grass, blankets, carpet — to develop and grow. To develop, flea eggs need a warm, moist environment, including a temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) and 70 to 85 percent humidity. In these conditions, the eggs hatch in about 12 days.
Flea larvae, which accounts for about 35 percent of flea infestation, are about 1.5 millimeters long and look like white, segmented worms. They avoid light and migrate toward cracks in the floor or under grass if outside, where they remain for their development.
After a week or two, flea larvae spin silk cocoons and pupate. They attach pieces of dirt and debris to their cocoons as camouflage and protection. If food is plentiful, the adult flea emerges after about a week. Otherwise, the flea may stay in its cocoon for up to a year.
Adult fleas begin searching for food as soon as they emerge from the cocoon. Movement and warmth serve as attractants and the adult simply waits until a host comes close and then hops on. While fleas are best noted for their ability to jump, once they acquire a host, they tend to remain still, feeding and laying eggs.
Within 48 hours of the first blood meal, adults begin laying eggs and the cycle begins again.
The complete life cycle ranges from a few weeks to several months primarily dependent upon environmental conditions.
As you can see, understanding the fairly quick life cycle of the flea gives a better picture of the life and how infestations escalate so quickly. The warm climate of Conroe, Texas is the perfect environment for growing and breeding fleas. It is important to get ahead of the problem by arming yourself with knowledge and effective flea prevention. If you already have a flea problem, quick, aggressive, effective flea treatment is critical. For all of your flea prevention and treatment needs in Conroe, contact us or stop by Conroe Feeders today! And, stay tuned for our next flea article to find out where fleas live and how to get rid of the problem once and for all!