Facts about fleas

Facts about fleas
  1. Flea bride and groom: In the 1920s, (costumed but dead) flea-brides were a popular collectible
  2. The tip of the iceberg: 95% of all fleas live in carpets, bedding, sofas, etc. – and not on pets
  3. Shaping: 1 flea can turn into 1,000 fleas in your home in just 21 days
  4. Cat fleas: In the Western world, the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the most common – also on dogs
  5. Food: Fleas feed by sucking blood from their hosts. Flea hosts include humans, mammals, reptiles and birds (virtually all warm-blooded animals). A female flea consumes 15 times its own body weight in blood daily
  6. Flea bites: A flea can bite up to 400 times per day
  7. Eggs: A female flea can lay more than 2,000 eggs in her lifetime and starts laying eggs as early as 35 – 48 hours after her first blood intake. The female flea needs a warm-blooded host in order to lay eggs
  8. Species: There are around 2,000 known flea species in the world
  9. Existence: Fleas have existed on Earth for around 100 million years
  10. Female and male fleas: Among almost all flea species, the female flea is larger than the male flea
Fact: Fleas use their hind legs to jump
Attribution: Kat Masback – Flickr.com

Fact: Fleas have 6 legs and the back pair is used for jumping. They can jump 30,000 times without stopping!


Facts about flea hops

  • Number of hops: A flea can jump 30,000 times without stopping
  • Change of direction: Fleas change direction with every hop
  • Acceleration: When a flea jumps, it accelerates 50 times faster than a spaceship
  • Distance: A flea can jump 18 cm into the air (vertically) and leap 33 cm (horizontally). They can jump more than 150 times their own body length (and bounce it more than 200 times), allowing them to move easily from host to host and around the surrounding environment


More facts about fleas

  • Size: Adult fleas are 1.5 – 3.3 mm long
  • Legs: Fleas have 6 legs. The back pair of legs is used for hopping and jumping
  • Co-morbidities: Pets with fleas can develop anemia (anemia), tapeworms, intense itching and even fur loss
  • Flea allergy: Some pets can develop allergies to flea saliva, causing intense itching and irritation
  • Flea comb: The best way to check pets for fleas is by using a flea comb
  • Hardiness: Fleas are quite hardy; their bodies have a tough exterior, making them difficult to crush. They can also survive for a long time without food in the pupal stage
  • Flea circus: Flea circuses originated in 17th century England
  • Sand fleas: Sand fleas are only active at dawn and dusk
Fact: Flea larvae develop into the pupal stage if there is enough food
Attribution: Kalumet – Wikipedia.org

Fact: Fleas in the larval stage (pictured) will develop into the pupal stage if given enough food


Flea life stages

Fleas have 4 life stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult:

  • The egg stage: The life cycle of the flea starts when the female flea lays eggs after blood consumption. Approximately 20 eggs are laid at a time and around 40-50 per day. The eggs are laid on a host, but typically fall off where the host is sleeping or resting. The eggs hatch after 2-14 days. Female fleas can lay over 5,000 eggs in their lifetime
  • Larval stage: Flea larvae hatch from eggs and feed on all kinds of organic matter such as dead insects, feces, plants, hair, etc. However, the larvae have certain nutritional needs that must be met in order for all of them to develop optimally. Larvae are blind and avoid sunlight. They prefer to live in dark corners such as cracks, crevices, bedding, carpets, etc.
  • The pupa stage: If a flea larva gets enough food, it will develop into the pupal stage and weave a pupa around itself. After a week or two, the now adult flea is fully developed and ready to emerge from its pupa. The flea uses signals such as vibration, heat, moisture and carbon dioxide levels to sense if a host is nearby – and only when this happens does it emerge from its pupa. The flea can remain in the pupal stage for up to 1 year while waiting for a suitable host
  • The adult stage: Once the flea has emerged from the pupa, it is by definition an adult and its primary goal is now to find blood and reproduce. Once out of the pupa, the flea has about 7 days to find blood – otherwise it dies. The total lifespan of a flea is usually around 2-3 months, but can be as short as 14 days and as long as 1 ½ years depending on the circumstances

Fleas need to be controlled differently depending on their life stage. Therefore, it is recommended to use several different flea control products to get rid of fleas. Read more about flea control here