Understanding the Lifecycle of a Flea

To fully understand how to control fleas on your pet and in the surrounding environment, it is important to understand the lifecycle of the flea, as certain types of flea control products work at different parts of the flea lifecycle.

There are four stages in the lifecycle of the flea. Eggs, larvae, pupae and adult fleas.

Flea Lifecycle Image Flea Lifecycle Image

Only about 5% of the entire flea population in your pet’s environment are adults. This is why it is so important to treat your pet all year round for the management of the other flea life stages.

A single adult female flea can lay about 50 eggs per day.As your pet moves around, eggs will then fall off your pet and into the surrounding environment where they will remain while in the development stage. Depending on the environmental conditions, flea eggs will hatch within 2-10 days.

The emerging larvae are a worm-like form that burrow into your pet’s bedding and carpet to avoid being out in the light. The larvae develop over 6-12 days, spinning a cocoon, which leads them into the next lifestage – pupae.

Pupae (or immature fleas) can survive in the environment for up to 12 months. This cocoon stage is the last developmental stage before adult fleas emerge. The cocoon protects the developing adult fleas from chemicals and has a sticky outer coating which allows them to hide in the environment without being easily removed by vacuuming or sweeping, making this flea life stage extremely resilient.

Adult fleas will then emerge when the conditions are right, and a host (your pet) is present. This usually occurs with the onset of warm weather or heating of homes during the colder months. Adult fleas spend the majority of their time living on your pet while they feed, breed and lay eggs. Adult fleas can survive anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months on your pet.

We recommend using a combination of TOTAL CARE flea products regularly, all year round to effectively treat and prevent fleas on your dog or cat.

The PetCare Advice Team

If you’ve got a question about any aspect of pet care, ask the Purina PetCare Advice Team.

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