We mostly experience fleas in their adult stage or find their eggs lying around in our home. Flea larvae aren’t seen as often, because they fall off their host shortly after hatching. They typically land in an area where your dog or cat sleeps or rests, and this is where they spend their life until the next stage. When the flea eggs hatch, they start off as tiny 2.5 mm long flea larvae. These are called first stage larvae. There are actually three stages of flea larvae the fleas go through before they become adult fleas. After the newly hatched first stage flea larvae, follows second stage and third stage flea larvae. They look pretty much like the first stage larvae, so it can be difficult to know the difference. In all three stages, they look like tiny caterpillars that are white with black centers. The black center is more reddish when observed through a microscope, because of digested blood. They actually feed on flea dirt from the adult fleas.
There are different types of fleas and therefore different types of larvae. Ctenocephalides flea larvae have a greyish, almost transparent body. They have small hairs coming out from their body and their stomach is big and red. It’s red because the larvae eat the blood that adult fleas have already partially digested. These leftovers of blood are called flea dirt, and you often find the dirt in the fur of your pets when fleas are around.
Flea larvae don’t pose a threat to you or your pets. They keep to themselves and if they would just stay this way forever, there would be no reason to get rid of them. This is not the case though. When they have fed long enough on flea dirt, they will incase themselves in a cocoon and start developing into full grown fleas. These are the ones that affect your pets and everyone else in your home. They feed directly on the blood of their hosts and leave itching red spots behind. Although the flea larvae are not parasitic or annoying in any way, they need to be stopped from developing into adult fleas, before they become a real problem.
How to get rid of flea larvae
The best way to stop the flea larvae from evolving into adult fleas is with flea treatment products. You can get flea sprays that kill larvae in the early stages and stop flea eggs for hatching. Flea spray won’t get rid of the initial problem, which is the adult fleas, but there are other products that can solve this. Besides vacuuming daily, flea bombs are known to exterminate even the largest flea infestations quickly. Remember to start protecting your home against future flea attacks. You will find that flea prevention is so much easier and less time consuming than getting rid of them when they have already moved in.
Got fleas? Find out which products work in 2019, with my updated flea control product comparison chart.