A Dog Fleas Life Cycle
How Dog Fleas Develop
Flea species run into the thousands, and with so much variety, it pays to understand a little more about the specific species of flea causing you and your pets an itchy existence!
Understanding the fleas life-cycle throws the advantage back into your court. If you can break the fleas life-cycle at any point, your flea problem will be gone.
What Are Dog Fleas?
Dog fleas are ectoparasites; meaning they are parasites that live on the outside of the dog. It is also a species found on humans, foxes, rabbits and other mammals worldwide.
How Long Is The Dog Fleas Life-cycle?
The entire dog flea life-cycle, from egg to adult flea, is complete in two to eight weeks.
Factors that affect the life cycle include temperature, food availability and humidity.
Adult fleas are the visible and unpleasant phase of the fleas life-cycle but make up less than ten percent of the overall population in your home. The other 90% consists of pupae, larvae and eggs.
Dog Flea Eggs
Dog flea eggs are pearlescent white, oval and smooth. The female flea will lay 100 of these eggs in her lifetime. Eggs range in size from 01 - 0.5mm in length, hatching into larvae within a week.
Dog Flea Larvae
Flea larvae are approximately 1 to 5 mm long. As they mature through three stages, the larvae develop the ability to produce silk. Larvae spin a cocoon and finally pupate.
Dog Flea Parasites
Flea larvae also ingest medically critical human parasites while in the larval stage.
Tapeworms hatch in the fleas gut before being passed on to human hosts! Humans become infected when they accidentally swallow adult fleas, especially when playing with pets.
The dwarf, rodent and dog tapeworm are the three best described in available literature.
Another common parasite is a nematode called Acanthocheilonema reconditum. A parasitic, microscopic worm that can infest dogs.
Dog Flea Pupae
The flea cocoon is sticky, and dust and dirt will stick to it. It is about 3-4 mm across. The pupating flea looks just like a piece of dust. If you can see eggs or flea larvae then most likely you can also see flea pupae.
The outer shell protects the fleas from pesticides, so steam heat treatments are most effective on both pupae and eggs.
Metamorphosis takes a few weeks before adult fleas are ready to hatch. Fleas often sit and wait for stimulation by vibration or heat to hatch directly onto a passing host.