Fleas & Ticks

The Life Cycle of a Flea

Flea Life Cycle
               Photo courtesy of Elanco

Fleas- Everyone hates them but you have to admire their persistence. They're EVERYWHERE, even in Antarctica where there is a flea that lives off the blood of sea birds! Here in south Louisiana they reproduce year round making them a major health concern for both our pets and for us. Not only do they rob their host of blood but they are also potential disease carriers.

Fleas have a complex life cycle
Eggs - A single female flea can lay up to 50 eggs in a single day. These eggs are laid on your pet's coat where they adhere to the hair until the eggs dry out at which time they fall off into the environment.  A flea egg typically hatches in 2 to 14 days.

Larvae - A flea egg hatches into a larva which resembles a tiny caterpillar. These larvae don't bite you or your pets but instead feed on organic debris - mostly adult flea feces. When the larvae have fed and matured they complete this phase of their life cycle by spinning a cocoon becoming a pupa.

Pupae - Flea cocoons are about 2 mm thick and 4-5 mm long and are scattered about in the environment. The pupal phase is the most resilient part of the flea life cycle. If environmental conditions are warm and humid the pupae will hatch in about a week; under cooler and drier conditions they can take up to 5 months to emerge.  It's important to note that flea eggs and pupae are resistant to most flea sprays and foggers.

Adults - Adults are the flea that everybody recognize but it is important to consider that they make up only 5-10% of the flea population in an environment. This means that for every flea you see on your pet there are 10-20 fleas in various stages of their life cycle out there! Adult fleas live for 2 to 3 months and a female can lay up to 2000 eggs during her brief but busy life. Even people who don't have animals often end up with fleas in their homes as the adult flea, upon emerging form its cocoon, hitchhikes on the first passer-by it can hop onto. This is frequently onto the socks of a person who brings the uninvited guests home with them. We carry NexGard, Trifexis, Advantix,  and many other parasite control
 products to keep your pet safe and comfortable.

 

 

Durocher Veterinary Clinic * 703 Jackson St * Thibodaux, LA 70301 * 447-8261