Description Adults about 1/8" long. Body is laterally flattened
(side to side). Brownish black to black, but reddish black when
engorged with blood.
Habits Fleas can jump about 6" so they can be transported on
shoes, trousers, animals, etc. Can remain in the pupal stage for many
months without food or water and hence can be present in large numbers
even though there has not been a host present. They are most often
found where pets and other animals spend most of their time. They
prefer areas with high moisture, though. They can be found indoors or
out, but need humidities between 45% and 95%, and temperatures between
55 and 95 degrees. Adult fleas tend to stay on the host to feed, mate,
and lay eggs unless they are dislodged.
Lifestyle and Reproduction Females lay 4-8 eggs after each blood
meal laying 400-500 eggs during their lifetime. Eggs are laid between
the hairs of the host and fall off or are shaken off landing an area
that also contains dried blood from bite scabs and flea feces. the eggs
hatch in 1-12 days. Larvae must feed off the blood meal nearby to fully
develop. They next develop into a pupal stage which is a virtually
impermeable cocoon. Not even pesticides can affect them in this
state.They emerge from the cocoon when pressure is put on it, there is
a sudden change in humidity, or even vibration can start the process.
They seek a blood meal immediately upon hatching, but can survive for a
while on stored body fat. Longevity may be from a few days up to a year
depending on the availability of a host and conditions on the host.
Problems Encountered Fleas bite to obtain blood for their diet.
The bites can itch and become painful or worse if infection occurs.
Some diseases are transmitted by flea bites, including bubonic plague.
Tips for Prevention Pets should be groomed regularly. Several
products on the market today are very effective in controlling fleas on
pets. They include topical ointments, pills, and flea dips. Areas where
pets are at rest should be cleaned and vacccumed thoroughly and often.
Particular attention should be paid to the summer months. Don't neglect
cracks and crevices near the areas a pet spends most of its time. A
professional service can gain control over fleas with modern, effective
products and will also give helpful advice to minimize future flea
Preparation See Preparation Page