Fleas are terrible to begin with because they come in such large numbers infesting your house and biting you, your family, and pets. They can make your day go from great to sour in such a short time. The worst thing about fleas besides their reproduction rate is their life cycle. They have a fairly complex 4 part life cycle each stage of their cycle requiring a different way to kill them. I’m going to list the different stages of the flea life cycle below, ill also give a brief description on how to kill them. If you want a more in depth way to kill fleas click here to learn about flea treatment.
Fleas aren’t like most parasites where the eggs are sticky. Flea eggs arent sticky at all and when laid on a host will usually fall to the ground when the host moves around. This is why vacuuming is very important when trying to remove fleas. The eggs can get trapped in carpeting where its hard to get to.
Flea eggs are generally small and white. They kind of look like grains of sand. In order for the eggs to be laid the female has to consume a blood meal. These eggs will hatch between 1 and 12 days of being laid.
Flea larva are generally between 3 and 5.2 mm long. They are a semitransparent white color during this stage. The larval stage last from 4 to 18 days. Larva comes from the eggs in the previous stage, generally hatched after they fall off of the host. When they are away from the host they will seek out shaded area such as a crack in the floor or under a bed buried in carpeting.
Dehydration is very fatal to flea larva. Flea Larva will not survive a relative humidity of less than 45-50% or greater than 90% Fahrenheit. In environments of suitable humidity fleas can prosper year round.
Flea larva are about 3-5 mm long. These flea larva don’t have eyes or legs so they wiggle around to get from place to place. They feed on feces left behind from adult fleas. They don’t just eat adult flea feces though, they also eat other small organic matter such as crumbs from food, dead insects or skin particles.
The larval stage lasts between 4 and 18 days. At the end of this stage fleas begin to spin a cocoon around them and enter the Pupal stage.
The pupal stage is pretty painful. When fleas are in the pupal stage they are protected by a silken cocoon making them immune to poisons and insecticides. This is the last stage before the flea becomes and adult.
Making it even more difficult to remove, the outside of the cocoon is covered in a sticky material. The fleas will cocoon themselves in a hidden area such as cracks so they wont be prodded out. Light vacuuming or sweeping wont be able to remove these fleas. You should probably use a steamer or strong vacuum to remove them.
This stage can last from a few days to weeks. The fleas wont emerge from the cocoon until a suitable host passes by. They will then spring out and try to latch on to the host attempting to get a blood meal. They have to have this blood meal within a week of emerging or else they will die.
If you have an infestation I can guarantee this will be the stage you will see first. This is when the fleas are finally fully matured and ready to feed. They begin to bite you so they can get the blood needed to survive and reproduce.
An adult flea is approximately 2.5 mm long. They’re generally dark in color ranging from brown to a red-brown color. They have six legs used to jump long distances from host to host seeing as they don’t have wings.
When an adult flea bites you it will first inject you with a numbing agent at first you don’t notice that your being bit. Later though you will begin to itch. This is because the saliva traces that the fleas leave behind cause skin irritation.
In my opinion this is the easiest stage to take out fleas. They are much easier to see and are more vulnerable to insecticides, vacuuming, and steaming.