The life cycle of the flea is similar to that of a moth – egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (cocoon) and adult. A newly hatched adult flea is unfed, small, black and aggressive: the larger adult fleas have had a blood meal and may be laying eggs on your pet. For every flea on your pet there may be hundreds waiting to emerge.
In summer, a flea may be ready to hatch from the pupa about seven to 14 days after it is formed. This hatching is triggered by movement. In a vacant house, a flea can remain dormant in its pupa for more than 18 months. Fleas will continue to hatch from their pupae after a pest control treatment; unfortunately insecticides cannot penetrate the flea pupal case. The adult flea will usually die within a few hours of contact with the residual pest treatment – both on your pet and in the environment.
Householders sometimes believe flea treatments are ineffective because the pupae are quite resistant to chemical treatment and fleas continue to emerge from pupal cases even after being treated. Ten fleas can potentially reproduce to 250,000 in only 30 days.
Latest research shows that adult fleas do not leave the pet to lay eggs. The white eggs are laid on the pet and fall onto the ground, carpet etc. The eggs hatch and small, blind larvae emerge. These larvae move away from the light, burrowing down into the carpet, cracks in the floor or soil. Here they feed on protein, such as flea droppings of partly digested blood, and moult three times before pupating. The larva changes into the adult in the pupa – metamorphosis.
When this metamorphosis is complete, the flea is ready to emerge. Fleas can remain dormant in the pupal stage for more than 18 months. Hatching of the flea from the pupa is triggered by movement nearby, predominantly during warm, moist weather conditions. The newly hatched unfed flea is small and black (it is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a ground flea). After feeding on its host for two days, now bigger and lighter in colour, it is ready to mate and lay eggs. The female flea is capable of laying up to 500 eggs over a lifetime, which may span several weeks.
Call us before the numbers build up – there is no need to go through the discomfort of flea bites.
Treatment methods available:
The solution for successful flea control is the treatment of the pet and the environment.
Floors and any furnishings in close contact or used by the pet should be vacuumed before being treated. This is to stimulate the pupae to emerge as adult fleas. After vacuuming the areas, the vacuum cleaner bag must be disposed of immediately to reduce the spreading of fleas.
Application of liquid spray – that is of low toxicity to mammals – to the flea harbourages, particularly the areas where pets rest or sleep, will eliminate resident flea populations.
To reduce any risk of flea reinfestation, the pets’ bedding needs to be washed and all pets treated with appropriate flea treatments.
Please contact Cure All Pest Control if you have any concerns about a pest flea problem in or around your home.