Nice spring rains in central Texas means we will have meadows of flowers in every color and shape and butterflies, but did you know the flea has the same life cycle as a butterfly? Like the butterfly, fleas gestate in a cocoon.
After hatching, a female flea will take two to three blood meals from her host and then lay 150 to 300 eggs in the very first week. Fleas prefer the iron rich blood of possum, cats and your warm-blooded canine, Fifi. Human blood is just not as tasty as our pets; however, in a pinch, a flea will not discriminate. They need those first meals in order to begin laying eggs.
The fleas will lay eggs in an infested yard or carpet for 1 week and then hatch into a beautiful cream-colored caterpillars. A larval flea will crawl around your carpet eating whatever miscellaneous organic matter they can find (cookie crumbs, food particles, etc.), but their meal of choice is flea feces. After eating a nice cookie/blood meal, the baby caterpillar, just like the butterfly, will start spinning a silk cocoon.
Once in the cocoon, the pupa can remain dormant for many weeks, impervious to insecticides, waiting for a host or a hot and humid central Texas Summer. In optimal conditions, the adult fleas will emerge in three weeks even if you spray or fog bomb your home. The pupa flea can sense the vibration of footsteps and pop out and take their first blood meal. Then the cycle starts all over.One or two meals and then the egg, larva, pupa, and adult flea begin all over again.
Stop the flea life cycle with Advantix or Comfortis available for purchase at Manchaca Road Animal Hospital.