Flea Life Cycle
From Birth to Blood…
Fleas are holometabolous insects, going through the four life
cycle stages of egg, larva, pupa and adult. The flea life cycle
begins when the female lays after feeding. Adult fleas must feed
on blood before they can become capable of reproduction. Eggs
are laid in batches of up to 20 or so, usually on the host
itself, which easily roll onto the ground. As such, areas where
the host rests and sleeps become one of the primary habitats of
eggs and developing fleas. The eggs take around two days to two
weeks to hatch.
Flea larvae emerge from the eggs to feed on any available
organic material such as dead insects, feces and vegetable
matter. They are blind and avoid sunlight, keeping to dark
places like sand, cracks and crevices, and bedding. Given an
adequate supply of food, larvae should pupate and weave a silken
cocoon within 1-2 weeks after 3 larval stages. After another
week or two the adult flea is fully developed and ready to
emerge from the cocoon. They may however remain resting during
this period until they receive a signal that a host is near -
vibrations (including sound), heat and carbon dioxide are all
stimuli indicating the probable presence of a host. Fleas as are
known to overwinter in the larval or pupae stages.
Once the flea reaches adulthood its primary goal is to find
blood - adult fleas must feed on blood in order to reproduce.
Adult fleas only have around a week to find food once they
emerge, though they can survive two months to a year between
meals. A flea population is unevenly distributed, with 50
percent eggs, 35 percent larvae, 10 percent pupae and 5 percent
adults. Their total life cycle can take as little as two weeks,
but may be lengthened to many months if conditions are
favorable. Female fleas can lay 500 or more eggs over their
life, allowing for phenomenal growth rates.