When summer arrives fleas become thirstier. I’m sure your pets will agree with that! Although fleas don’t really have a season, they do become more active in the warmer months. The reason for this is the warmer conditions make sandy soil areas ideal for breeding, allowing the flea population to increase dramatically.
In Australia there are ninety different species of fleas, out of approximately 2400 in the world. The fleas go through a life cycle of complete metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa and adult).
The larva feeds on any organic material, human and animal skin scales and undigested blood which adult fleas excretes and accumulates in carpet, bedding, building and furniture cracks, soil etc. Usually the larva will feed for about fifteen days but may feed for months in bad conditions. When the larva is finished feeding it spins a cocoon camouflaged in dirt.
The pupa (cocoon) lasts for seven to fourteen days in ideal conditions but may lay dormant for more than a year. It usually lays dormant till conditions are right before the adult emerges.
Vibrations usually stimulate them to emerge from the pupa stage of development. Sometimes when you enter an empty unoccupied room you can be suddenly be attacked by hundreds of fleas, this is because of their sensitivity to vibrations. The whole life cycle can take as little as eighteen days.
Once the flea has reached the adult stage a female flea can lay between 4-8 eggs after each blood meal. Adult fleas can survive for as long as four months without food and have a life span of between 100-500 days. They may lay several hundred eggs in this period. Fleas are able to launch themselves into the air at a height of 20cm.
Fleas are readily controlled provided you take a few simple steps. The majority of fleas found in our homes are of the ‘Cat Flea’ variety. This type of flea prefers the cat or dog as its host: however it may also use humans. The name ‘Sand Flea’ is commonly used. This is not a different variety of flea but a term describing a location where fleas are often found.
Fleas generally only bite humans where there is a severe plague or when the normal host animal has left the premises. For example, it is quite common to experience a flea plague after a pet’s death or when moving into a vacant premise that has previously housed a dog or cat.
The pupil stage of development can stay in the carpets undisturbed edges of floors etc for up to one year. These pupas will develop into adult fleas as soon as the house is occupied again.
If you have a pet, contact your vet for advice on the many different flea products available. Treat you pet and its bedding for the fleas at the same time as Stewarts Pest Control are treating your home; otherwise all your efforts will be wasted.
All stages of flea development may occur in your carpet and furniture. For the best control follow the following steps: