Fleas may not be a favorite among insects, and insects may not be a favorite at all, but unfortunately they tend to hang around longer than people like. Many do what they can to keep them off pets and out of rugs, but the fact is that fleas can live up to a year and a half, and their gestational stages can be even longer.
The Life Cycle
Fleas tend to thrive in the warm and moist environments, which is why conditions are ideal for them close to their hosts' bodies, under fur or hair. A flea's gestational period is somewhere around 15 days in ideal conditions. However, it can be up to two years if the environment is not hospitable for their kind. A female flea can lay more than 25 eggs a day and more than 800 in her lifetime. Then, there are three key stages a flea must go through before becoming an adult: egg, larva and pupa.
The egg stage can last anywhere from two days to several weeks, and in some harsher conditions a flea may not even make it past this stage. While many eggs are laid on the host, when the host moves or shifts, the eggs sometimes fall and scatter about into carpets or grass. Flea eggs are not sticky, which means they move more easily than other parasite eggs and, in turn, they are often left in harsh conditions and destroyed.
The flea hatches from its egg as a larva and immediately seeks out lesser foods, such as dried blood from their mothers or organic materials in carpets and soil. They start to hold the whitish color of their species and actively move about the world in search of food. Depending on the amount and quality of food they find, larvae will stay in this stage anywhere from five days to over two weeks before building a cocoon and entering the next stage of their lives.
The larvae cocoon themselves and begin to pupate. This third stage of life for a flea can last as long as two years or as short as three days. It depends on how well they faired the first two stages, and how much warmth the cocoon gets for stimulation during this stage. The silken cocoon is made up of organic materials made by the larva weaved with dust, soil or other debris around them. It is strong enough to keep out insecticide, and because they are almost always woven off the host, the conditions are perfect for pupation.
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