Fleas are wingless insects with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking the blood of their hosts. Why should I worry about fleas? Many dogs and cats are allergic to their saliva, and a single flea bite can cause severe itching or even hives. Fleas also carry the Diplylidium caninum tapeworm and other diseases, including the plague virus.
To prevent and kill fleas, it helps to understand the parasite’s four-stage life cycle, which can complete itself in about three to four weeks.
- Egg: Female fleas may lay 40 to 50 eggs per day, either on your pet, in your home, or in your yard. They are smooth and slick, so eggs laid directly on the animal fall off onto carpeting or grass. Egg production can continue over 100 days!
- Larvae: Larvae hatch from eggs and live on your pet’s dried blood and dander, as well as other organic debris. Larvae do not suck blood, but they do spin cocoons. They can survive from 5 to 11 days.
- Pupae: The pupae are cocooned fleas. Their life span averages eight to nine days, but they can remain dormant for more than six months.
- Adult: Adult fleas emerge from their cocoons and immediately begin to seek a living host on which to feed. The female adult flea lays eggs, which perpetuates the infestation. The average life span of an adult flea is 113 days.
The good news is that fleas can be controlled in your pet’s environment with Adams™ foggers, indoor sprays, and powders, and on your pet with shampoos, dips, collars, and topical treatments. Keep in mind that flea prevention is the key to flea control! Adams™ Flea & Tick Spot On® for Dogs or Cats with Infest Stop™* ingredient kills flea eggs and their larvae, keeping them from maturing into biting, breeding adults.