Adult fleas are parasites of warm-blooded animals such as cats, dogs, and humans. Fleas go through complete metamorphosis, meaning they have an egg, a larva, a pupa, and an adult stage. Under most situations, fleas will complete their life cycle within three to five weeks.
The female flea will lay 4 to 6 eggs after each blood meal and can usually lay several hundred during her lifetime. The light colored eggs are deposited while on the host, but they fall off the animal and are frequently found in the host’s bedding, carpets, sofas, and crevices in the floor. The eggs normally hatch between 1 and 10 days, depending on temperature and humidity, while most hatch within 36 hours.
Flea larvae are slender, white, legless and between 1/10 and 1/5 inch long. They are free living and feed on debris found in their environment. The larval stage usually lasts between 5 and 11 days but can be extended up to 3 weeks if conditions are not favorable. Flea larvae are very sensitive to heat and desiccation (drying out), and therefore thrive in shaded, protected areas.
Most adults will emerge from the pupa stage in 5 to 10 days. If a host is not present, the flea can remain in the pupa stage for up to 140 days. Emergence from the pupa stage is triggered by the host’s body heat, movement and exhaled carbon dioxide. This stage is the most resistant to pesticides and desiccation.
Fleas are extremely adaptable insects and flea populations can exist inside homes for extended periods of time without a host animal.
Successful flea control requires:
1. The pets must be treated. This should be done either prior to application or on the same day the house and lawn are treated.
2. The house and lawn must be properly prepared and treated.
The homeowner must properly prepare the home for chemical treatment by:
Thoroughly vacuuming all floors and upholstered furniture (don’t forget closets, under cushions, and the pet’s favorite resting places). The vacuum cleaner bag must be disposed of immediately because it can harbor flea eggs and larvae.
Thoroughly wash or dispose of pet bedding.
All floors should be cleared of items that may interfere with treatment.
All pets, including birds, should be removed from the home during treatment. Fish bowls and aquariums can remain in the house if they are covered and the filtering system is turned off.
Once the home is properly prepared, the technician can apply a residual insecticide as well as a growth inhibitor to areas such as flooring, cracks and crevices, upholstered furniture, and animal sleeping areas. You will be instructed to leave your home for 3 to 4 hours following the application of the insecticide.
3. The lawn is treated. Flea control outdoors consists of an application of a residual insecticide over the conducive areas of the lawn, shrubs, patios and walkways as well as other areas, as needed.
Insecticides only affect the larva and adult stages, so the insecticide must be left undisturbed until the fleas reach one of these stages of their life cycle. You will notice flea activity after treatment because this insecticide has a delayed effect on emerging fleas. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THE INSECTICIDE ISN’T WORKING! It may take up to three weeks before all activity ceases.
Homeowners often return home after several days following treatment and are shocked to be attacked by fleas. Remember, flea pupae are unique so that insecticides cannot control the fleas when protected by the pupa casing. The chemical will control these emerging fleas over several days if they are stimulated to emerge from the pupal casing.
Our professional application of insecticides and your complete understanding of flea life cycles and total cooperation are essential for successful flea control.
Fleas are transported into an area by animals such as squirrels, raccoons, cats, dogs, opossums, and even humans. When there is no residual insecticide left, a new infestation can begin.
Keep pets off freshly treated surfaces, including the lawn, until they are dry (usually 2-4 hours).
Let the treatment dry before you reenter the home (usually 2-4 hours).