Flea Life Cycle
Fleas would choose to remain on their chosen host given an option but sometimes that is not possible which is why certain fleas don’t survive and others like cat fleas are adaptable and will target other hosts. The total flea life cycle can range from between a couple weeks to several months, depending on environmental conditions, the better the environment the more fleas.
Fleas tend to multiple exponentially beginning in spring and continuing through the summer. Unfortunately these days the fleas have found that our homes offer wonderful conditions for continuing development due to central heating, so often move in for the winter continuing their world domination. To see what to do about fleas in the house click here. People are often disappointed when they believe they have rid their pet and their home of fleas only to find that they reappear weeks later. This may be due to the chemical you have used to clear your home rather than your pet bringing in more unwanted visitors.
The flea life cycle is from an egg which is an off white roundish shape, the eggs are not sticky so do not always remain on the animal they have been deposited on they can be dislodged by scratching or movement. The egg will hatch in perfect conditions within two weeks. A flea larva has a spine prominence on its head which is a material called chitin an “egg tooth”. Chitin is the material that fleas have in their egg cases to prevent dehydration, as well as in their exoskeletons as full grown fleas. This hard piece of chitin is used to break free from the egg.
The larva stage consists of three stages the first where it emerges from the egg as semi- transparent larvae. The larvae have fine hairs and have a degree of movement. They feed off the faeces/poo of the parent flea which is the small dark grains which you find trapped in your pet’s fur; along with other debris trapped in bedding or carpets. At this stage the larvae can exist feeding for another two week period or more.
The second stage for the larvae in the flea life cycle is where the flea larvae begin to spin a silken cocoon where it then pupates.
It is at this third stage it is able to remain dormant for long periods of up to 6 months until the conditions improve where the pupa develops and will then emerge as a fully grown adult flea.
The first three stages of development tend not to be on your pet but in an alternative environment where conditions may not remain the same, or indeed remain consistent to facilitate the constant optimum conditions.
The final stage of the flea life cycle is where the flea emerges from the cocoon to find a new host and feed. The stimulus for emergence can be the presence of a potential host, warmth and 78% humidity, thus the cycle begins again.