• Fleas: A Big Problem

    One flea can bite 400 times a day

    For something so small — just 1/12 to 1/8 inches long — fleas are a mighty big problem. One flea can bite up to 400 times per day in a lifespan that can last about 100 days! And one pair of fleas can produce 400 to 500 offspring during that lifetime. In fact, it only takes 21 days for single flea to multiply into 1,000 fleas on your dog on cat and in your home. Those are just the adult fleas. YIKES!

    Educating yourself about fleas and the problems they cause is the first step to protecting your pet, home and your family.

    How fleas grow.
    It seems that at every stage of development, fleas are out for blood, always ready to keep the infestation going.
    All kinds of fleas.
    There are thousands of known species of fleas. You only need to worry about the fleas that are most likely to get on your dog or cat.
    Fast facts on fleas.
    From how much they eat to how high they jump, there’s a lot to learn about fleas.
    A flea can jump 30,000 times without stopping

    How Fleas Grow

    To understand why fleas are such a menace to pets and owners alike, it’s important to know that it’s not just the adult fleas that cause problems. They make up only about 5 percent of an infestation. That means there are still the eggs, larvae and immature fleas ready to do their part to keep the infestation going.

    Stage 1: The Eggs. An adult female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day and several hundred eggs in a lifetime. The eggs are not sticky and they are very small. So they quickly fall off your pet and into your carpet, furniture, pet’s bed and yard. They hatch from two to 21 days after they are laid. Then the real problems begin.

    Flea life cycle

    Stage 2: The Larvae. The eggs develop wherever they land and hatch into larvae and live among the dark places in your home and outside. They feast on flea dirt — flea feces that contain digested blood from your pet — and other organic matter like shed skin cells, hair and feathers. Larvae are almost invisible and settle deep into carpets and furniture. Even vacuuming won’t remove them all.

    Stage 3: The Immature Flea. Immature fleas, or pupae, spend about eight to nine days in their cocoon, growing and waiting to emerge. But they can survive much longer than that, up to several months, waiting until they detect heat, movement and carbon dioxide that lets them know it is time to emerge from their cocoons…to bite your pet and wreak havoc in your home!

    Stage 4: The Adult Flea. Adult fleas like warm, humid places and stay on the same host pet their entire lives. This is the most annoying stage because adult fleas bite, feeding on the blood of your pet. When they do, it results in the telltale symptoms of scratching, biting and skin irritation. As they feed, female fleas lay eggs and the life cycle starts over again.

    Types of Fleas

    As if having fleas on your dog or cat isn’t enough to creep you out, it’s worse to think that there are thousands of species of fleas in the world — each with its own preferences when it comes to environment, host animal and other characteristics.

    Flea under magnifying glass

    Flea varieties. There are more than 2,000 varieties of fleas in the world, and more than 200 types in the U.S.

    Classifying fleas. While each type of flea has different characteristics, they are usually classified by the animal they prefer to call host — dog fleas, cat fleas and so on. However, fleas don’t limit their appetite to their namesake animals.

    Common U.S. fleas. The most common flea in the U.S. is the cat flea. But don’t let the name fool you, it’s also the type of flea most commonly found on dogs. So if you have these biting bad boys around, you’re probably fighting against the cat flea.

    Fast facts on fleas

    While fleas are no one’s favorite, there are lots of facts to know about this itchy, scratchy foe.

    Size and shape: Measuring in at just 1/12 to 1/8 inches and flat, fleas on your dog or cat move quickly and easily between the hairs in their fur. Like most insects, fleas have six legs. Their hind legs are much longer, making it easy for fleas to jump.

    Mobility: Fleas do not fly; they jump as high as eight inches and as far as 12 inches horizontally. So it’s easy for fleas to get on dogs and cats…and even on pants, shoes and blankets.

    A flea accelerates 50x faster than the space shuttle

    Food: Fleas love to feast on the blood of their hosts, including cats, dogs and other domesticated animals. Female adult fleas ingest 15 times their body weight each day. The immature flea, or pupae, doesn’t eat blood, but does survive on organic matter like flea feces, shed skin, hair and feathers. However, in order to lay eggs, the adult flea must have a blood meal.

    Infestations: Fleas can live for about 100 days, but only about a week of this is spent as an adult. In fact, 95 percent of a flea’s life is spent in its other life stages — from egg to larvae, then pupae or immature flea. That’s why an infestation can last much longer than 100 days, as fleas may exist in different stages — waiting to make a meal out of your pet.

    Bites: According to experts, more than 70 percent of fleas bite their host within the first hour. One flea can bite up to 400 times per day. So getting flea treatment t on dogs and cats needs to be fast and effective!