Jimmy, a responsible teen is left to take care of his home while his parents are out of town. Jimmy invites a few friends over Saturday night. While Jimmy expects the gathering to be small, his friends decide otherwise. As the night rolls on, Jimmy’s friends show up, then friends of Jimmy’s friends. Before he can blink twice, there are people in his house Jimmy has never seen before – and they keep coming; uninvited and unwanted. A small get-together of 3 has now turned into a large party of 100. Seemingly out of nowhere. As you can imagine Jimmy is frustrated, miffed and will have a big clean-up ahead of him. Carpets are ruined, glass is broken, an unidentified substance has made its way into the hardwood flooring. THIS quick clean-up will cost him a huge headache and money. Extra money he doesn’t have.
Much like Jimmy’s situation, FLEA INFESTATIONS can ruin the party; Fast.
Let’s take a look at the Life Cycle of a Flea/The Flea Pyramid:
- STAGE 1 – The EGGS
Once the live adult flea finds an unprotected host they will take a blood meal, then mate. Within a short 36 – 48 hours the female will begin laying eggs. Females can lay up to 50 eggs a day. 2000 eggs within their lifetime. All from ONE flea! …YUCK! These eggs are laid in the fur of the host (your cat or dog), then fall off into the environment. The “environment” being your carpet, hardwoods, bedding, furniture, outdoor areas. Basically anywhere your pet hangs out. These eggs will hatch in 1 – 10 days.
Jimmy’s small gathering is just beginning.
- STAGE 2 – The LARVAE
When flea eggs hatch, they become larvae. These are slender, white and worm like at about 1 – 2 millimeters in size. They are free moving, but do not like light. Therefore, they burrow deep into carpets, cracks in hardwood flooring, fibers in furniture, and the “hottest spot in town” – your pet’s bed. This stage survives on ingesting organic materials, mostly adult flea feces. The Larval Stage lasts 5 – 11 days, depending on available food and climate (they thrive in areas with more humidity).
Jimmy’s unwanted guests are arriving; potentially by the thousands.
- STAGE 3 – The PUPAE – The Armored Soldier
At full development of the Larval Stage, the mature larvae will produce a silk-like cocoon. They are now pupae. This cocoon is sticky and will be spun around the base of carpet fibers or in bedding material, making them impossible to remove, even with regular vacuuming. Adult fleas will develop within 5 – 14 days. They remain inside these cocoons until stimulated to hatch. Stimulation comes from physical pressure (walking on), exhaled breath from pets, vibration from walking or vacuuming, and heat. This hatching process can be staggered. Cocoons with pupae can lay dormant for any amount of time; up to 1 year. This makes it very difficult to treat your house with “flea bombs”, etc – as no chemical spray is strong enough to penetrate the cocoon. Some pet owners think their flea prevention failed because fleas never seem to be eliminated. In fact, they are just being stimulated at different times to hatch from their cocoons. Once pupaes hatch, they are susceptible to insecticides, or flea bombs – but not until then. (This is why Flea Prevention YEAR ROUND is so important!) Remember: There can be THOUSANDS of these cocoons strewn throughout your home!
Jimmy’s unwanted house guests are calm … for now.
Once the flea hatches from the cocoon, it IMMEDIATELY begins searching for a host. Once it finds this host (your pet), it will begin feeding in as little as 7 seconds. New fleas want to move upward, out of the depths of your carpet, furniture, etc. They are attracted to body heat, movement and exhaled breath from your pet. These tiny creatures are strong. They can jump vertically up to 100 times their own body length! That’s equal to a person jumping the length of 3 football fields! Wow. They also have a very strong exoskeleton; a protective shell. Once the adult flea finds its way to your pet, it will remain there for its life (potentially 4 months). Regular grooming behavior, ingestion by the pet, dying a natural death, or by a chemically aided death (flea prevention) are the ONLY way the flea will leave its host. Otherwise, you can expect egg production within 48 hours of the flea finding your pet – and the cycle starts again.
The Importance of Flea Prevention is in the Pyramid!
50 eggs laid per day, per flea. Hundreds, potentially thousands of flea eggs, larvae, pupae and adult fleas in your home & on your pets. In our area, this can happen at ANY time during the year. It is a situation that can very quickly get out of your control!
Jimmy’s gathering became a nightmare of uninvited guests; and fleas will too!