There are many different types of fleas in the world. Most people will be surprised to know that there are actually more than two thousand different species. What they all have in common is the flea life cycle. The fleas start as eggs, then turns into pupae, followed by larvae, and lastly they reach the adult flea stage. You will learn all about the life cycle of fleas (which is pretty amazing) and the different flea stages. This knowledge will make it much easier for you to get rid of them and keep them away in the future.
First stage of the flea life cycle: The flea eggs
Depending on the environment, a flea egg typically hatches in 2 to 21 days. The time it takes the flea to develop from egg to adult flea is affected by humidity, temperature and food availability. Some parasites have sticky eggs that fasten to the animal. This is not the case with flea eggs. They fall off the animal when it scratches itself or rolls around on the carpet, sofa and in the bed. That’s why the place where you sleep can easily become the flea’s favorite habitat. The flea eggs looks small and oval and are best viewed using a loupe. When the adult flea lays its eggs, it does so in numbers of 20 or so.
The second stage is the larval stage
This is actually 3 stages within one. The flea larvae pupate and weave cocoons, as long as they are given enough food. They have small hairs on their body and are usually ¼” or 6.35 mm long and partly transparent. They move around and eat the feces (it sounds disgusting, but it’s mostly just dried blood) of the adult fleas. After 5 to 20 days they create cocoons of silk and pupate.
Third stage in the life cycle of fleas: The pupal stage
The fleas are one step closer to adulthood. It’s a matter of days or up to a year before they choose to emerge from the cocoon. Temperature and humidity are some of the things that determine how fast that happens. This is your last chance to get rid of the fleas, as the next stage is the adult flea stage where they will start feeding on you and your pets. Note that they can be difficult to get rid of at this stage. Flea pupae are known to have survived cold winters and extremely hot summers. They can remain in this hibernated stage for up to six months without food.
Fourth and last stage is when the adult flea is born
These nasty things are designed to suck the blood out of animals and people. If that isn’t a good reason to hate them, I don’t know what is. They only have about a week to find some blood, if they want to survive. After that they can survive for several years without food. They have to feed though if they want to be capable of reproducing. Adult fleas get to their target by jumping. They have 3 pairs of legs and the ones on the back are designed to jump extremely high. They have absolutely no problem jumping from the carpet to your feet or legs. If the adult fleas live under perfect conditions, then ten female fleas can produce over a quarter of a million fleas in a month. That’s why you want to get them in the early stages, before it gets out of hand. If you have a flea problem that you need to get rid of, be sure to read this post about flea control.