Knowing the life cycle of a flea plays an important role in getting rid of fleas not only from your pets but for your home as well. The length of time needed for the completion of the cycle mainly depends on the temperature and humidity levels. There is a total of four stages in their life cycle comprised of eggs, larva, pupa, and adult.
As mentioned, the cycle starts with the egg, larva, pupa, and then the adult stage. For the cycle to begin, an adult female flea will lay eggs after getting a blood meal from the host animal. The eggs are smaller than grains of sand and are laid in bunches.
Unlike other parasites, flea eggs aren’t sticky. They easily fall off animal fur into the bedding, carpet, soil, and floorboards.
Depending on environmental conditions, eggs may hatch from about two days to a couple of weeks. Larvae emerge from these eggs by using their chitin tooth or the hard spine on their heads that eventually disappears.
As the flea larvae emerge, they will try to avoid going out in the light since they are still blind. After several weeks, they will develop their senses by consuming organic debris and pre-digested blood or flea dirt from adults.
Larvae are legless, white in colour and can be about ¼ of an inch in length. They move actively and has small hairs on their body. Under favourable conditions, it will start to spin a cocoon within 5 to 20 days after hatching to enter the pupal stage.
This is the last stage that the flea has to go through before entering the adult stage. When favourable conditions apply, it may take at least five days for adults to emerge. However, it may take weeks to several months or even years for them to emerge under poor conditions.
Adults that have emerged from the cocoon in a short time are those that are near various stimuli. These can be high humidity, vibrations, warm ambient temperatures, and even the carbon dioxide emitted by animals.
Unlike eggs, cocoons are sticky and can’t be easily removed by sweeping or light vacuuming. The cocoon is the protective casing of the pupae and will last for weeks or even months till the adults emerge. Under poor conditions, it can keep protecting the pupae for months or even years.
Adult flea emerges from the cocoon under suitable conditions. As soon as it emerges, it will feed on the host within the following hours. Right after the first meal, adults will start breeding and laying eggs within the following days.
Most of the adult dog or cat fleas you’ll see have flat and tiny bodies and have a dark colour. Their shape will change and their colour will lighten as they feed.
Adults spend the rest of their lives on the host’s body. It is where they feed, breed, and continuously lay eggs. They can live between a few weeks to almost a year on their host animal.Being able to know the stages in a flea life cycle, you are able to get a hint if you are already dealing with an infestation. Seeing the pest in all life stages only means that they are reproducing continuously and immediate control must be done.