Fleas – what are they?
April 6, 2021
The flea is a robust parasite. It reproduces quickly and their eggs spread throughout your home before you’ve even noticed that your pet is scratching more than usual. #didyouknow that adult fleas only account for 5% of the total infestation? The remaining 95% are invisible to the naked eye and consist of the egg, larvae and pupae stages!
The ONLY way to get rid of and continue to keep your pet and home flea free is to break the flea life cycle! This means treating your pet AND your home regularly throughout the year, NOT just in the warmer months. As new fleas are introduced to the environment, the regular treatment will continue to break the flea cycle, stopping an infestation developing.
Watch a short film on the flea lifecycle to help you understand how these critters survive.
There are four life stages of the flea; egg, larva, pupa and adult. How quickly they develop depends on the temperature and humidity of the environment. Their growth can take just a few weeks to several months.
Fleas like to be warm and cosy with their preferred temperature being between 21°C and 29°C. Going WAY back in time, flea season referred to the warmer months of the year but now because of centrally heated homes, fleas are able to find the perfect conditions to breed and thrive all year round!
Once a host has been found, the adult female flea feeds and begins to lay eggs on your pet’s body. She cannot lay her eggs until she has eaten a blood meal. Flea eggs are tiny white objects smaller than a grain of sand. Female fleas lay on average 20 eggs per day but can lay up to as many as 50! Flea eggs represent approximately half of the flea population in the home. An adult flea needs a host to survive. Without a host to feed on, they can only survive for a few days.
Flea eggs can be unwittingly distributed around the home by your pet as the eggs fall off your pet’s body. Once the temperature and humidity are right, the eggs will hatch and the larvae will begin to emerge.
Flea larvae feed on flea dirt (the name given to adult flea faeces) to survive because they can’t feed on a host. Flea dirt is essentially dried blood and looks like a trail of black specks. It can sometimes be visible on your pet’s coat and on bedding.
Flea larvae are white and almost see-through in colour. They have no legs and develop over one to two weeks.
This is the cocoon stage of the flea cycle and makes up 10% of the flea population in a home. It is the final stage before it turns into an adult flea. This stage can take several days OR weeks. If conditions are not right in the environment, the pupae can survive for months and sometimes more than a year in this stage. The cocoon protects the pupae while it develops and the sticky outer layer keeps the pupae hidden deep in fabric and carpets. It also protects against the reaches of the hoover and any chemicals that might be in some household flea sprays.
Once developed, the adult flea won’t emerge until they sense a potential host nearby. Despite their small size, they are very clever little critters and will pick up vibrations, rising levels of carbon dioxide and body heat, all which indicate that there is a dog or cat nearby waiting to provide the blood meal they require.
To keep your pet and home free from fleas, contact the team today on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 find out what products are available to suit your needs. Why not use PetsApp to request your products and get them sent directly to your home.
We now offer savings on flea treatments in our Pet Health Club – learn more.
To take advantage of 25% of a full year’s worth of products must be purchased and paid for in full. This offer is valid from 1st April 2021 to 30th June 2021. If you require your products posting to your home, this will attract additional postal costs. Please ask the team for further details of the products that are included in the special offer.