We’ve all heard the saying “If you see one flea, there’s a hundred more that you haven’t seen”. That’s why treatment should begin as soon as the first sighting and treatment should be repeated regularly. Delays in treating the infestation quickly may lead to a full infestation which carries the risk of flea-transmitted diseases.
Fleas are holometabolous insects, going through the four life cycle stages of egg, larva, pupa, and imago (adult). Adult fleas must feed on blood before they can become capable of reproduction.
The flea life cycle begins when the female lays after feeding. Eggs are laid in batches of up to 20 or so, usually on the host itself, which means that the eggs can easily roll onto the ground. Because of this, areas where the host rests and sleeps become one of the primary habitats of eggs and developing fleas. The eggs take between two days to two weeks to hatch.
Flea larvae emerge from the eggs to feed on any available organic material such as dead insects, feces, and vegetable matter. They are blind and avoid sun light; they prefer dark places like sand, cracks/crevices, and bedding. Given an adequate supply of food, larvae pupate and weave a silken cocoon within 1–2 weeks. After another 1-2 weeks, the adult flea is fully developed and ready to emerge from the cocoon. They may however remain resting during this period until they receive a signal that a host is near, such signals include: vibrations
(movement/sound), heat and carbon dioxide. Fleas are known to hibernate over the winter season in the larval or pupal stages.
Once the flea reaches adulthood, its primary goal is to find blood and then to reproduce. Adult fleas only have approximately one week to find food after they emerge. However; after they feed, they can survive two to three years between meals. Flea populations are evenly distributed, with about 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae, and 5% adults. Their total life span can be as short as one year, but may be several years in ideal conditions. Female fleas can lay 5000 or more eggs over their life, allowing for phenomenal growth rates.
To effectively get rid of fleas and flea eggs, one should treat not only their animals but also the household and exterior regions to eliminate eggs from bedding, grass, floors, furniture and other areas. Treatment is most effective when done in stages to ensure each lifecycle is eliminated. At KingWood Pest we use products with insect growth regulators that not only ensure the death of the flea but also prevents the next life cycle from occurring. Protect your family and your pets by treating fleas the right way the first time.