Fleas can be a real hassle and can truly bug your pets. A common question asked is if there are fleas in the fall. If you live in Southern California, the answer is going to be YES! As we enjoy the fall weather, so do the fleas. In the fall, there tends to be warm weather, moisture in the air, it’s warmer in the house, pet’s hair is usually kept longer, and more piles of leaves on the ground where fleas can hide. There are a few factors to be aware of when it comes to controlling fleas in your environment.
A flea is very small and can be very hard to see. A flea measures at about 1/10 of an inch. They are also very fast and can jump 50 times their body length. That is equal to a human being able to jump 984 ft. Have you ever tried catching a flea? It is hard. Using a metal bristle flea comb can be helpful. Most of the time, a flea is right under your nose and you will have a hard time finding it. Little do you know how much of an infestation that one flea could cause.
A flea doesn’t just lay an egg and a flea hatches out right away. There are other stages in the life cycle that are important to know.
A female flea can lay up to 50 eggs in a day. They are about the size of a grain of salt with more of a pearl-like color and oval in size. They do not stay on the pet’s hair. They will fall off the pet’s hair on to the pet’s environment. This is typically how an environment can become infested especially by other animals using your yard as a walkway. This is also how your indoor only pets may get fleas from the pets that are going outdoors.
The flea egg will normally fall into the fibers of the carpet or in cracks and crevices in the home. Outside it will fall in the dirt or plant roots. They do best in the dark, away from light sources. When the flea egg hatches, an embryo called a larvae will appear. This larvae crawls around, very similar to a small worm. The fibers on their body help them move around. From there, they will feed on flea feces (partially digested blood) and other debris. After about a week, the larvae will begin spinning a cocoon. They can live in this cocoon (flea pupae) without food or light for 5 months. They are protected from cold, dryness and even insecticides. When the adult flea senses a host due to change in thermal energy around them, they will emerge from the cocoon and jump on their host for a meal.
An adult flea must have an immediate blood meal from a host in order for it to survive. Once they find their host (dog or cat), they will continue to live on this same host. An adult flea can live on it’s host for 1-2 weeks. Without a blood meal the flea will die within a week. If the female flea emerges from cocoon and does not get an immediate meal, she will not lay eggs as her priority is the meal. If she gets an immediate meal, she will be strong enough to start laying clusters of eggs. This is how the flea cycle will begin.
This is why it is so important to keep all pets in the household on a monthly flea preventative. If your pet is the host, and they are on an oral or topical flea preventative, that blood meal the flea takes will kill them and also not allow the female flea to produce more eggs.
If you do this and still notice a problem with fleas in the environment, it is time to treat the environment also. There are many products that you can purchase. You can also find a company that may come out and spray. Discuss with them what treatments they offer for the different stages of the flea life cycle. Most of the time it will take more than just one treatment. Washing the bedding and areas that your pet lays down the most, will also help reduce the amount of eggs in the environment.
We hope that this information will help you understand the flea cycle more and the importance of year round flea prevention for your pets. if you should have any questions regarding flea control, please call us. (714)771-3261
Don’t forget to visit our online store for a great selection of flea preventatives. https://healthypethospital.vetsfirstchoice.com/
written by Susan Aranda