Fleas can make your life as well as your pet’s life miserable. It is important that you understand the flea cycle so that you can get rid of fleas in your home and on your pet. The flea cycle can vary in length, which makes getting rid of fleas difficult. The life cycle of a flea can last anywhere from 20 days to an entire year. It depends on how long the flea remains in the dormant stage (eggs, larvae, pupa). Outside influences, such as weather, affect the flea cycle.
A female flea can lay around 20 to 25 eggs in one day. The flea egg stage is the beginning of the flea cycle. This part of the flea cycle represents a little more than one third of the flea population at any given time. Depending on the temperature and humidity of the environment the egg can take from two to six days to hatch. The warmer the weather, the quicker the eggs will hatch. Flea eggs are left on carpets or any other area frequented by your pet.
The flea larvae is next stage of the flea cycle. This part of the flea cycle represents almost a little over half of the flea population at any given time. They look very similar to maggots, with whitish, clear-looking skin and no legs. The larva has its own cycle, in which it molts through three different stages. These stages are all affected by the temperature and humidity of the environment. It can last anywhere from six to 40 days.
The next stage of the flea cycle is the pupa stage which makes up less than one tenth of the flea population at any given time. The pupa are formed when the larvae make cocoons. This is a difficult stage of the flea cycle because the cocoon protects the flea from the pesticides or chemicals that are used to kill them. It is in this stage that the larva develops into the adult flea. The development lasts approximately 10 days, but this stage also varies in length. The cocoon can literally lay dormant for one entire year. It will not hatch until the temperature and humidity are just right. The pupa must also sense some sort of vibration before it hatches. The vibration can be caused by someone walking near it.
Becoming an adult flea is the last stage of the cycle and it represents only 1 percent of the flea population at any given time. Adult fleas want to attach to a host where they will spend the majority of their time. If the flea fails to attach to a host it can live about two years feeding only flea feces, dander and fungus. An adult flea can live approximately 50 days without food. If it attaches to a host it can live anywhere from half a month to 3 months.