The most common flea on domestic pets is Ctenocephalides felis, commonlyknown as the cat flea.(1) Like many other insects, the flea’s life cycle consists of four stages: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults.(1)
Female adult fleas begin the process of laying eggs by seeking out a warm host on which to feed. Fleas can sense heat coming from a living being and will use this to locate a suitable host, often a dog or cat. Once a host is found, the adult female flea feeds and lays her eggs.(1)
About 70 percent of these eggs will become dislodged from the host animal within the first eight hours and drop off into the carpet or the pet’s bedding. Hatching time for the eggs varies drastically with conditions such as temperature, but often the eggs will take between one and six days to hatch.(1)
Since flea larvae feed on organic debris in the environment, the pet’s bedding and carpets provide an excellent habitat for the larvae to thrive. After about a week or two the larvae spin a cocoon and turn into pupae.(1)
Usually adult fleas emerge in several days, but it can take several months, depending on the temperature and humidity conditions.(1) The newly emerged adult flea begins host seeking immediately, and the cycle repeats.(1)
1. Rust, M.K. and M.W. Dryden. 1997. The biology, ecology, and management of the cat flea. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 42:451-473.MORE
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