Fleas are a wingless insect that jump. If they were human sized athletes participating in the long jump in the Olympics, certain fleas could break the current world record by approximately 970 feet. They have been on earth for 100 million years and there are over 2000 species. The most common flea is the Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis). If you find a flea on your cat or dog, there could be an infestation on your pets and around your home. Adult fleas are only a small percentage of the total population of a given infestation.
A flea’s life cycle can be broken down into four parts: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The adult lays eggs on a host, which then roll off into the environment. When these eggs hatch into larvae, the larvae hunker down in the environment, feed, and go through several molts until they spin a cocoon and become pupae. Eventually, from the pupae emerge adult fleas, which then seek out an animal host for a blood meal. Under ideal conditions, this entire process takes about 21 days. However, fleas have a very flexible life cycle, and will wait until conditions are optimal to move from one stage to another. The warmer and moister it is, the faster the cycle will go.
Flea pupae can stay in their cocoons for up to a year. Once they emerge, they try to find a food source immediately; however, they can survive for one to two weeks without eating. The females are the biggest eaters; they can consume 15 times their weight of blood in one day. She will then lay her first eggs 35-48 hours after feeding. Flea eggs are usually laid directly on a host, often falling off the host’s body and spreading the infestation to the surrounding environment. A female is capable of laying over 2000 eggs over the course of her life. A flea life span is 2-3 months and they can live up to 2 months