How Long Can Fleas Live? Bug Lifespans Starting From Scratch | Kidadl


How Long Can Fleas Live? Bug Lifespans Starting From Scratch

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Fleas are wingless insects that belong to the Siphonaptera order and Panorpida superorder.

Fleas came into existence in the Middle Jurassic Era. A flea is categorized as a pest since it lives on the skin and fur of animals like dogs, cats, and other fur animals.

Fleas feed on the blood of their hosts to survive. Fleas are generally not picky about their hosts. But some species have a single host group. There are over 2000 different flea species. Cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) and dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis) are the most common types of fleas. Flea bites are red, itchy, and painful. These tiny blood-sucking insects are just 0.039-0.13 in (0.1-0.32 cm) long. Fleas have flattened or pancake-shaped bodies with tiny hair-like structures. They have six legs and can jump to heights that are 50 times the size of their bodies. Flea infestations are actually serious as they carry a wide range of deadly diseases. Fleas were the carriers of plague in the middle ages. In the mid-1600s, London lost over 20% of its population to the deadly disease passed on to humans by these parasites. This is why appropriate treatment is necessary to eliminate flea infestations. Continue reading to find out more about what can be done to kill fleas instantly and where fleas live.

The Lifespan Of A Flea

Fleas can be quite annoying as they spread many diseases. Flea bites are also painful. Answering how long a flea can live is quite tricky, as the lifespan and life cycle can vary depending on the environment and its conditions. Fleas are some of the insects with a short lifespan. Their lifecycle starts with the egg stage, followed by the pupae stage, and finally the adult stage. The egg stage lasts for about 12 days. The pupae stage of fleas can last for a day and extend up to even a year. At this stage, the larvae will feed on their own dead skin cells or on the skin shedding of adult fleas. An adult flea will manage to stay alive for two to three months. In general, if conditions like temperature, food supply, and humidity are ideal, fleas can live for a year or more. If there is a shortage of food, fleas typically die in just a few days.

Cat fleas and dog fleas are the most common types of fleas. A cat flea can survive for 139-185 days if it feeds on human blood for 15 minutes on a daily basis.

Without a host, fleas will only live for a few days, and on short-haired pet animals like cats and dogs, they will live for around eight days. For animals with long hair, they will survive longer than usual.

How long do fleas live on the carpet?

Fleas need hosts to survive. These sneaky little insects can fit in anywhere.

They will infest carpeting and bedding in no time. Fleas that live on carpets are called carpet fleas. Over 85% of the fleas live on carpet piles until they reach adult stage. Carpet fleas can stay on carpets for as long as two or three months. If they go unnoticed and without proper measures, they can get quite comfortable and live on carpets forever, especially if they find a perfect host. How to get rid of carpet fleas? Getting rid of carpet fleas can be quite easy if you have spotted them. Cleaning and vacuuming are the first steps. Make sure to vacuum the carpet multiple times, as flea cocoons can stick to the carpet and might be hard to get rid of. Once you have vacuumed the carpet thoroughly, make sure you dispose of the vacuum bag right away. Fleas can jump and can quickly re-infect your carpet if they come into contact with it again. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth is the next step. Diatomaceous earth, also known as kieselguhr, is a sedimentary rock that acts as a natural insecticide. Lemons can also help. Try squeezing the lemon and boiling its juice before spraying it on the carpet.

Flea on skin.

Understanding The Flea Life Cycle

In order to eliminate fleas, one has to understand the lifecycle of fleas.

A flea's lifecycle has four stages, namely: flea eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult fleas. The flea life cycle is short.

Eggs: Adult female fleas reproduce by using the blood of their host. Female fleas, after having a good meal, will lay 40 eggs each day. They will lay eggs within 36–48 hours after they have had their first blood meal. A female flea can lay over 2,000 eggs in her entire lifetime. These flea eggs are small and white. Flea eggs will hatch within two days to two weeks, depending on the conditions. The ideal conditions are 70-80 F (21.1-26.6 C) and 70% humidity. The flea eggs can hatch quickly when humidity is high. Once the flea eggs crack, flea larvae come out of them.

Larva: Flea larvae are blind. So they will mainly focus on avoiding light. Flea larvae are white and around 0.2 in (0.65 cm) long. They lack legs. The adult female flea will pass on flea dirt, which is also known as pre-digested blood, to the larva. The flea larvae will feed on this and spin into cocoons in the next 5–20 days. The flea cocoon is made of white silk. They will mature in a week.

Pupae: The pupae, or cocoon stage, lasts for several days or weeks. During this, the pupae will have a protective covering called a cocoon. This will protect the pupae until the conditions are favorable for them to come out. The sticky coating on top of cocoons will help them attach to carpets and other surfaces, making it hard to remove them.

Adult: An adult flea will only come out once they sense the presence of a host. Vibrations, carbon dioxide levels, and body heat help to identify the presence of a potential host. Adult fleas have flat, dark bodies and are small. They will grow bigger and attain a lighter color once they get their food from the host. The adult fleas, after emerging from the cocoons, will need food. They will feed on the host immediately. After finishing their meal, adult fleas will start breeding and reproducing. Female fleas can only reproduce when they have had their first blood meal. They can stay on the host for a few weeks or even months.

How long do fleas live in your house?

Pet animals like cats and dogs can easily bring fleas into the house. Humans can also be a reason.

Once fleas come into contact with the furniture, bedding, carpet, or other surfaces indoors, they can be a nuisance. Houses are hospitable spots for flea infestations. The environmental conditions indoors are ideal for insect growth and multiplication. How long fleas live in your house depends on the stages of their life cycle and the environmental conditions. Typically, flea eggs and larvae live longer on carpets when compared to adult fleas. They can occupy any spot that is comfortable and has the ideal conditions. If you vacuum your house regularly, fleas will only live in your house for a short time (depending on how often you vacuum). Fleas can live indoors for even a year if appropriate flea treatment is not initiated.

In empty houses, fleas die sooner. Fleas will live on the skin of a dog or cat. In the absence of cats and dogs or any other fur animals, fleas will die within a few days, mostly a day or two.

Can fleas live on clothes or elsewhere in your house?

Fleas live in almost all parts of your house. The stages of the life cycle of a flea will determine where they live.

Fleas live on clothes too. But their lifespan is too short when they live on clothes. This is due to the absence of host animals (cats, dogs, or rats). They only survive for 24 hours in the absence of blood. Carpets, bedding, pet beds, cracks, and upholstered furniture are some of the commonplaces of infestation. Over 90% of the fleas live on carpets as eggs or larvae. Any dark and warm place with ample amounts of moisture will be a perfect spot for fleas. They can also be found around your house, in your gardens or in your doghouse. If your garden is well shaded, the chances of flea infestation immediately increase.

What can kill fleas instantly?

There are a bunch of home treatments as well as chemical treatments that can help kill this pest right away. You can also seek the help of pest control specialists to get rid of flea infestations. Here are some of the methods for treating fleas.

In your House: Using a vacuum is the first step in flea treatment. While this might not kill fleas, it will help get rid of the flea larvae and pupae. It will eliminate 30–60% of the eggs. Steam cleaning and washing the bedding two or three times a week is also necessary. Aerosol sprays are effective in killing fleas. You can directly use these sprays on your furniture, bedding, and other infested areas. When using insecticides, choose insecticides that contain both adulticides like permethrin and insect growth regulators like pyriproxyfen or methoprene. This is a permanent solution, as insecticides with these two chemicals will target both the larval stage and the adult fleas. Keep pets away from the spray until it dries. Use these sprays regularly on the infested areas to treat your property.

In your Yard: Mowing your lawn is crucial in keeping fleas off your property. Regularly clean the dead leaves and other waste under your plants and make sure that these areas get enough sunlight. Spreading nematodes, a type of worm that will feed on flea eggs, will kill fleas. You can also spray diatomaceous earth. This is a natural remedy that will instantly eliminate fleas.

On your Pet: If your pet is infested with fleas, you need to check the bedding. Wash your pet's bedding in hot water three times a week. Brush your pet animal often using flea combs. Pet shampoos with perytherin will help to get rid of fleas quickly. For a pet dog, products with Nitenpyram, also known as Capstar, work best. Fipronil and imidacloprid are ingredients present in insecticides that will prevent insect growth. Be careful while handling your infested pet animal as the fleas on your pet animal can bite you.

The most important thing to keep in mind while carrying out flea treatments is to treat your pet, house, and yard all at the same time. The treatment will be useless if you concentrate only on one of the three things, as flea infestation can spread in no time. The treatment might not be effective if it is not repeated regularly.

Did You Know?

Fleas are not just comfortable in your furniture, bedding, and carpets, they can also live in your hair. Luckily, they do not breed or reproduce while they are stuck in your hair. Your cat or dog is not always the target. Fleas can feed on human blood, too. Since they jump around a lot, you can easily come into contact with a flea or two. Fleas mainly live on your feet and ankles. Fleas do not like us as much as they like a cat or dog. This is because our bodies are not well suited for them. Our hair is not dense enough for them to hide, and we are constantly exposed to the sun. Most of the time, when fleas bite you, they will not stay on your body for very long.

Though flea bites are not fatal on their own, they can still spread diseases that can be fatal. Flea bites are more common on the ankles. Difficulty breathing (shortness of breath or wheezing), swelling of the lips or tongue, dizziness, nausea, and chest pain are some of the flea bite symptoms.

Written By
Lydia Samson

<p>A diligent and driven mass communications graduate from Caleb University, Lydia has experience in media and a passion for digital marketing and communications. She is an effective communicator and team-builder with strong analytical, management, and organizational skills. She is a self-starter with a positive, can-do attitude.</p>

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