Fleas are small, wingless, dark brown insects that live by feeding on the blood of other animals, usually your furry, harmless cat or dog. They are smaller than the size of a pencil tip. They hop and jump and move quickly through your pets fur. In fact, they can jump as high as 7 inches and as long as 13 inches, giving them the ability to spread out quickly.
Fleas are often picked up outdoors and brought into your home. Most times, they’ll hitch a ride on a household pet, but they can also jump on to you. Once they’re inside, they can lay eggs and spread their infestation. They usually lay eggs on their host, but these eggs can easily fall off and if the host is moving when this happens, the eggs will be spread throughout your home. These eggs don’t take long to hatch (usually between 2 days and 2 weeks), which means an infestation can occur quickly.
Besides the fact that fleas can reproduce quickly, what makes them difficult to eradicate is the fact that they can live up to 100 days without a meal. This means you can easily have lots of unknown fleas.
The Flea Life Cycle
- Eggs: Fleas can lay up to 50 eggs each day. These eggs drop off wherever the host spends time, Such as on or under furniture, carpeting, or your pets bedding.
- Larvae: In 1-10 days, tiny worm-like larvae hatch from the eggs. To avoid sunlight, they crawl into dark, low-traffic areas, often deep in carpeting below furniture.
- Pupae: Larvae start spinning small, sticky white cocoons built with carpet fibers, dust and dirt. In ten days they become adults.
- Young Adults: Young adults remain in their cocoons until they find a nearby host.
- Adults: They bite and suck blood in order to live and reproduce.
Signs of Fleas
Because they are small and difficult to see, you may not know you have a flea infestation just from finding the fleas themselves. One of the easiest ways to detect fleas is flea bites. If your cat or dog scratching themselves more than usual, or if you have Small, itchy red patches, you probably have a flea infestation. Inspect your dog or cat and look for the tiny moving insects.
Another sign of fleas is flea dirt. This dirt is black or reddish-brown specks that can be found around your home. Also, look for hair loss on your pet, which could be due to a reaction to the fleas or simply because of constant licking or Scratching.