Many people believe that they have successfully eradicated all of the fleas in house. They have used shampoos for the pets, comb their pets for the remaining fleas. Everything has been done. However, fleas are coming back within a few day. This time, the infestion is more seriously.
The problem is all of your methods are only attacking adult fleas which are account for 5% of the total population. For an example, if you have 100 fleas in your house, only 5 of them are adult fleas.
Where is the rest?
It’s easy to eradicate adult fleas, however other stages in their life cycle are more difficult to wipe out completely. If you only focus on adult fleas, you won’t kill them from the root. You just kill the symptoms instead, so they’ll be back soon and very easy.
Therefore, before embarking in getting rid of fleas in house, you should better understand about flea life cycle
Flea life cycle – A journey
Flea life cycle consists of four stages: eggs, larvae, pupae and adult, which is demonstrated as the picture below
Flea eggs – 50% of fleas population
Life cycle of fleas starts when the female begins to lay her eggs after a blood draw. Feeding on human or animal blood is a MUST since adult fleas can’t lay their eggs without food. With an abundant amount of flood, a female flea can lay 20 eggs per day and up to 500 – 600 eggs in her whole life.
Fleas prefer to lay eggs directly on their hosts. Eggs are with and their sizes are a little smaller than a grand of sand. You can easily see those eggs by eyes. Like other parasites, fleas eggs are smooth. Being unable to stick on the fur of the hosts, these eggs easily slip off and fall to where the hosts often rests and sleeps such as yard, carpet, floorings… However, eggs can be available at not only these places but also other places where your pets have been.
Larvae – 35% of flea population
Depending on the environment, eggs begin to hatch after a few days or up to a few weeks. The larve use a special spine on their heads to emerge from the eggs. This spine will be lost during the first stage of larva in flea life cycle.
Larvae don’t have legs, they use two rows of bristles along their body to move. However, they are very active and can easily be found in pets’ beddings. Fleas will grown up in three developmental stages in larvae stages. This process can take up to one or two weeks.
Larvae are blind, so they are sensitive to light. In fact, they are scared of light, so their favorite places are dark places such as cracks and crevices on the floors. Besides that, low humidity can lead to the death of larvae. Despite very active, the larvae won’t go too far from their birth places.
The Larvae don’t suck our bloods, their favorite foods are fleas feces, dead skin cells as well as other organic substances. Among these foods, larvae prefer fleas feces which is often called “flea dirt”. Many people believe that these dark spots are fleas eggs. However, they aren’t. They contain dried blood from the host and are the main source of nutrients to larvae.
Pupae – 10% of flea population
After the larval stages, the larvae begin to pupate and form silk cocoon around their bodies. They also camouflage by adding debris, pet hair, grass…, so we hardly detect pupae. It’s nearly impossible to kill fleas at this stage. We should wait until fleas have come to other stages in their lives.
Inside the cocoon, the larva gradually transforms into a flea. This process lasts one to two weeks. However, they don’t hatch immediately. The adults will wait until there are signals that the host is near such as vibration, pressure or even carbon dioxide. These signals are known as stimulations for cocoons. If nothing happens, the adult fleas will stay in their cocoons for several months.
It can explain why you’ll see a massive amount of fleas emerging your house after a long vacation. They didn’t move in your home while you are away. They are right there, just wait for a appropriate time. Then the worst nightmare comes, your house is crowded with fleas.
This is the last and the most dangerous stage in flea life cycle.
Newly emerged fleas have 3 pairs of legs, especially the hindmost which is famous for their ability to jump very high. They are very small and semi-transparent, so many people think of them as “child fleas”. However, they aren’t. They are still fleas, but they will begin to swell up and turn into red when they have the chance to “plug” into a host.
If adult fleas don’t feed on blood, they can live without food for several years. Their main nutrients will be debris, dead skin cells, fungus… However, if they start to suck blood, they will fall into a never-ending spiral. They have to suck blood for every 4 – 5 hours, otherwise they’ll die. Fleas are very greedy, they will eat until they can’t obtain anymore even when they aren’t hungry. A typical flea can carry more than 15 times of its weight.
Fleas is a type of parasite, they use special salvia to lubricate the area to prevent blood clothing and soften the skin layer. This will help them suck directly into the hosts’ blood easier. With more than 15 substances, fleas salvia may contain some chemicals which are allergic for both human and animal. It can possibly cause flea allergy dermatitis. In most cases, fleas will stay in the same host unless they are driven away or killed.
Two days after the first meal, fleas begin to reproduce. The female will lay eggs continuously until she dies. Every day, she will produce 20 – 50 eggs and the number will be 500 to 600 for her whole life. If these numbers can’t surprise you, we’ll give a very shocking demonstration. Within 30 days, 10 female fleas can multiply to over 250.000 ones in different life stages.
Depending on environmental conditions, flea life cycle varies from 2 weeks to 2 years. Thanks to the adaptability and many different stages in life, fleas are extremely dangerous. So when it comes to eradicate fleas in house, you should take collective actions killing fleas in not only their adult stage but also other stages including eggs, larvae and pupae. Learning about flea life cycle will prevent these fleas from infesting your house again.