Flea Life Cycle

The flea life cycle is very important to take into account when trying to rid your yorkie of dog fleas.

As already discussed, dog fleas are not only extremely irritating, but they can cause health problems, such as flea allergy dermatitis, for your dog. 

It is therefore important to get rid of dog fleas as soon as possible, not only from your pet but from your home as well.

The flea life cycle consists of 4 stages – adult fleas, flea eggs, larvae and pupae.

Stage 1 – Adult Fleas

This stage in the flea life cycle is the one at which our yorkies will suffer!  At this point in the life cycle, the fleas need to feed on blood in order to survive.  

If an adult flea has never taken a blood meal, it will be able to survive for up to 2 years feeding on dander, faeces and fungus.  Once they have had a blood meal, they will not survive any longer than a week if it cannot get a blood feed.

At any one point, only 5% of the flea population will be in the adult stage.  What this basically means is that fleas must mainly be tackled in the other stages in order to avoid a dog flea infestation.

Adult fleas must be attached and live on a host in order to survive, though at all other stages they can survive practically anywhere as long as conditions are optimum.

An adult female flea can lay up 50 eggs per day and each of her eggs will do the same in their lifetime, so easy to see how quickly they can reproduce and cause a dog flea infestation.  An adult female can produce up to 2000 eggs in her lifetime!

Stage 2 – Flea Eggs

Once the adult fleas have laid their eggs on the host, they will normally drop off and end up in your pets' bed, in furniture, carpets and countless other places.

Even when it seems there are no fleas about, your house might still be a breeding ground for them.  Flea eggs can survive almost any condition thrown at them.  

The eggs will stay dormant until conditions are optimum for them to hatch.  

Eggs can hatch in 2 days to 2 weeks depending on the conditions, i.e temperature and humidity.

These eggs will hatch into larvae.

Stage 3 – Flea Larvae

Once the eggs hatch, the fleas are now known as larvae.  At this stage in the flea life cycle they are blind, have no legs and do not yet feed on blood but on adult flea faeces.

The larvae need high humidity in order to survive, and these are the conditions which the flea eggs will wait for before hatching.

Flea larvae will spin a cocoon before moving on to the next stage in the life cycle.

Stage 4 – Flea Pupae

The final stage in the cycle is the flea pupae.  

Dog fleas will develop from larvae to adult fleas inside the cocoon. This phase takes about 1 – 2 weeks for development, however again the cocoon can lie dormant for years waiting for optimal conditions.

The cocoons will hatch when they are stimulated by, for example, feeling vibrations.  If they feel vibrations this means that there are hosts walking about. 

They know that no vibrations mean that there isn't any food for them and they will not hatch.

The length of the dog flea life cycle is dependent on the conditions of the environment.  When optimum temperature and humidity are achieved the length of the cycle is 7-21 days (egg to adult)

Now that you are aware of the flea life cycle, we must start taking a look at what the best methods are for dog flea control at all stages.

Return from Flea Life Cycle to our Yorkshire Terrier homepage