Flea Life Cycle
There are four stages in a Flea’s Life Cycle.
Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult – Learn about each below:
A female flea may produce between 50 and 80 eggs, per day. The reason fleas are capable of producing such outlandish numbers of eggs is that nature typically only allows for a relatively tiny survival percentage. In other words, the flea is playing the law of large numbers against mother nature. Flea eggs seldom develop on the host animal, but rather fall off in to the environment where they hatch as flea larvae. Indoor environments tend to be more hospitable to the flea, resulting significantly higher survival rates. This explains why a home will often become totally infested with a horde of angry fleas, while the yard is not nearly as significantly infested.
The flea larva is a tiny worm-like stage in the flea’s life cycle. Flea larva need to feed just llike everything else in nature, and can feed on organic matter in the environment. This includes flea fecal material, as well as some organic substances such as the natural glue backing found in many types of carpeting. Most flea larva will enter a dormant like stage known as the pupa after about 8 or so days.
The pupa stage is a waterproof cocoon that is impervious to insecticides. The adult flea emerges from the pupa hungry and ready to feed. Most problems associated with flea removal are caused by the inability of insecticides to control the flea pupa stage. Amazingly, the pre-emergent adult flea can remain dormant in the pupa stage for up to one year. Fleas which remain dormant for periods longer than the active residual of an insecticide can quickly reinfest the home or yard. The key to beating the flea’s pupa stage is residual, NOT toxicity. In fact, most toxic treatments today have proven to be less effective than some of the environmentally friendly approaches. Together, the flea egg and flea larvae make up roughly 75% of an entire flea infestation.
The adult flea will die within a short time period if a blood meal is not successfully found after emerging from the pupa stage. For this reason, the flea has developed the survival mechanism of remaining dormant until a potential blood host (animal) is felt nearby. The host is usually detected via either vibrations caused by movement, or warm CO2 being emitted by the host. How long an adult flea can live is up for debate, with several different university studies reporting varying life spans. One such study yielded fleas which were able to remain viable for up to 100 days after the initial feeding, although somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 days is a more common life span. Adult fleas only comprise around 2-5% of an entire flea infestation.