Compared to other insects, the life cycle of a flea is not that long. The flea life cycle goes from egg to larva to pupa before the final adult stage. The process can take anywhere from two to three weeks to several months, depending on the conditions. Adult cat and dog fleas can live up to one year in ideal situations, but only about one to two weeks if no host is present.
Female fleas lay eggs while attached to the host. Because these eggs are unattached, they will slowly drop to the ground where they remain until hatching. Flea eggs typically hatch in two to 12 days. The resulting flea larvae are small, whitish in color and have no legs. While they lack appendages, these larvae do have strong, well-developed mouths. The larval stage is shorter in the summer, taking four to 24 days to enter the pupal stage. For the rest of the year, the process can take up to 200 days. Flea larvae eat their own skin sheddings, waste from adult fleas and organic debris including hair and dead skin cells. They are often found burrowed into or under pet bedding or in deep carpet to avoid light.
A full size flea larva spins a cocoon to enter the pupal stage. This stage typically takes five to 14 days, but may take longer under poor conditions. When ready, adult fleas emerge from the cocoon and wait for a host to pass by.
Adult fleas are roughly one-eighth of an inch long. They can be reddish-brown to black in color, appear flattened and have no wings. These insects have long back legs to aid them in jumping from host to host.
Being on a monthly flea and tick prevention can save a lot of time and money when an infestation hits. We carry Nexgard (oral) and Effitix plus (topical) for dogs as well as Revolution and Effipro plus for cats.
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All products are available in our clinic and our on-line pharmacy.