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11 June 2020

Spring, the season of renewel, of warmer weather, longer days, flowering trees and shrubs, bright-coloured pansies….. and fleas

By late spring, fleas begin to emerge from their pupas as adults and migrate to the nearest dog, or cat for blood meals. And adult flea mates shortly after emergence, and begins laying eggs within 36 hours. In her brief 50-day lifespan, a single female flea can lay more than 2000 eggs. Fleas are marvelously adapted for survival. The female lays eggs on the host animal, but the eggs fall to the ground, carpet, sofa, dog bed, owners bed, or easy chair where they hatch in two to five days. The flea larva feeds on organic debris in the environment.

Within a week or two, depending on temperature and humidity, the larva spins a pupa (or cocoon) to protect itself during metamorphosis to adulthood.

In the hard-shelled pupa, the larva transforms from a tiny maggot-like creature into a six-legged bloodthirsty super-jumper, able to leap 150 times its own body length, and the cycle begins a new.

The flea cycle (adult flea to egg larve to pupa to adult flea) takes about 35-40 days in early spring and 17-21 days in mid-summer. By late summer, cycles slow to two months or more, and they virtually shut down between April and July in the inland and higher regions. Along the coast however, fleas complete their cycles in 20 days or less for the most of the year and only slow down a bit in mid-winter.

Flea eggs need relative humidity of 70-75 percent to hatch, and larva need at least 50 percent humidity to survive. In humid areas, about 20 percent of the eggs survive to adulthood; in arid areas, less then five percent complete the cycle.

All bets are off when Fido, the dog, brings fleas in for the winter. Household warmth can keep the cocooned larvae alive until conditions are ripe for the emergence of the adults, and may allow life cycles to continue at a snails pace

If you thing that your pet has a flea problem, consult your veterinarian. He will have a broad selection of products on offer to remedy the problem. No matter whether you prefer natural holistic remedies, or a chemically formulated product, have a chat with your vet…..