What is the most dedicated bug in the universe? The flea! Once they find a dog or cat they like, they literally stick to them. So, if fleas commit for life, what exactly does that mean? Here’s everything you need to know about these itchy little insects (and probably a bit more than you want to know).

A Close Look at the Flea Life Cycle

Stage One: An Egg is Laid

All fleas start their lives as eggs. Female fleas are prolific layers—an adult flea can lay between 10 and 60 eggs per day! Considering the average lifespan of a flea, which is about 60 to 100 days, one female flea can lay up to 2000 eggs!

The rate at which fleas reproduce depends significantly on their environment. Contrary to popular belief, fleas do not go dormant in the winter. Fleas thrive in temperatures between 75 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit and enjoy humid conditions.

Where do fleas lay their eggs? On your dog or cat. Some of the eggs get knocked off onto the floor, their bedding, or elsewhere.

Stage Two: A Larva is Born

After two days to two weeks, more than half of the flea eggs will hatch into larvae. Some eggs will remain dormant until conditions are ideal for hatching.

These larvae naturally hide from light, often ending up in tiny dark crevices such as between floorboards, under the bed, or deep in your carpet. For about two weeks, they feast on their favorite food: flea dirt, which is essentially the feces of adult fleas.

Stage Three: Pupation

While cocoons are typically associated with butterflies or moths, they are also an important part of the flea’s life cycle. After two weeks of feeding, larvae spin themselves into cocoons, entering the pupae phase. Here, they develop into mature and hungry adults.

The duration of the pupae phase varies, depending on environmental conditions. The adult flea will emerge when conditions are right, which could be anywhere from two weeks to several months. Upon sensing a nearby host, they hatch and begin their quest for a blood meal.

Stage Four: The Adult Flea

Adult fleas survive by indulging in a blood meal from mammals. After just one meal, an adult female flea can start laying eggs, perpetuating the life cycle.

Other Not-So-Sweet Flea Facts

  • Only 10% of the fleas potentially in your home live on your pet.
  • Only 5% of fleas are in the adult stage at any given time. The rest are eggs, larvae, or pupae, waiting to mature.
  • The entire life cycle of the flea can last between two weeks and six months.
  • Fleas can carry tapeworm larvae and infect your pet with these parasites.

Stop Those Fleas in Their Tracks

Ending the flea life cycle is a matter of interruption. Prescription flea medicine does just that. Oral prescription flea medicines circulate through your pet’s system, ending up in their fat. When a flea bites your pet, they ingest the medicine, which renders them sterile. This means any eggs they lay cannot survive.

Make Fleas Flee!

What did the dog on flea prevention say to the vet? 

“Long time, no flea!”

Armed with this knowledge, you’re now a powerful pet owner equipped to protect your furry friends. Don’t try to battle a flea infestation alone; it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Protect your pet from fleas by giving us a call today and scheduling an appointment.

Visit our online store
 for flea-prevention products. Your pet’s comfort and health are our top priority at VETERINARYCARE At Belmont™ . We provide veterinary care for pets in in Smyrna, GA, and surrounding communities.

Image credit:

wirestock / Freepik