The flea is one of the most common parasites to infect dogs and cats. This can lead to excessive itching, scratching and even blood loss. Since fleas feed on blood, a severe infection can leave your pet anemic. Also in some cases, pets can develop allergies to flea saliva which results in a severe dermatitis.
The adult flea is only about 2.5 mm in length and is usually dark brown, but can be seen by the naked human eye. They don’t have wings but they can jump a great distance.
In order to effectively control fleas in your house you should understand a little bit about their life cycle. The adult flea can live up to 115 days on the dog, but only a few days off of the dog because they need to constantly feed.
Normally after the fleas take in a blood meal they will mate on the skin of the dog and then the female will lay the eggs within 48 hours.
Females can produce up to 2000 eggs in a four month life cycle. As the female lays the eggs they fall off the dog and usually onto the furniture or carpet.
It takes about 10 days for the eggs to hatch into larvae form. The larvae feed on debris found on the carpet. The larvae then go into a pupal stage that can last anywhere from a few days to a few months.
How fast fleas mature through the life cycle depends greatly on temperature and humidity conditions. If these temperatures are optimal for fleas the flea life cycle can be very quick.
After they emerge from the pupil stage they have only two weeks to find a host before they die.
Remember, at any time only 1% of the population is composed of adults. 99% of the time they are in other stages like egg, larval, or pupal stages, and are not visible to the human eye.