What if you’ve only spotted one flea in your house for a couple of days? Would you think it’s an isolated case? Or is it a sign for a sinister infestation brewing in your carpet? Well, to explain the gravity of that situation, here are some details of flea reproduction that might surprise you – details that include the answer to the question, “How fast do fleas multiply?”
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How does a flea’s life cycle work?
Fleas have 4 stages in their life cycle, the egg, larva, pupa and the adult stage.
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Flea eggs look like grains of salt or sand. Fleas stay in this stage from 2 days to 2 weeks, depending on the place they’re living in. Also, these eggs don’t stick to where they were laid. Moving hosts drop them into carpets, grass, soil and even on upholstery.
The eggs then hatch into larvae. These are worm-like versions of the flea that eat whatever it is that’s near them. Mostly, they eat organic debris, unhatched eggs and even feces from adult fleas or other animals.
After 4 to 18 days, the larvae then spin cocoons to morph into adult fleas. This is the pupal stage. It’s when a larva goes “dormant” to change into how we normally imagine what a flea would look like.
The cocoon is water-tight, and it’s designed to blend in with its surroundings, making it hard to spot. The pupal stage is also the time that’s difficult to kill fleas since the cocoon can be tough enough to withstand pesticides.
Finally, the last stage of the flea’s life is its adult stage. Pupas turn into adults after 7 to 10 days. However, these adult fleas don’t just randomly leave their cocoon shells. They have to be propelled by carbon dioxide or vibrations made by nearby hosts to get out.
How fast do fleas multiply?
Fleas multiply at an enormous rate. They’re highly reproductive insects that can create masses in just a matter of weeks.
The correct number of eggs laid per day really depends on the flea species and the environment they live in. Generally, though, a female flea can lay 20 to 40 eggs when the conditions are right. That is, if the temperature reaches 21°C to 30 °C (70 °F to 85 °F) and if the humidity is 70%.
A female cat flea, for example, can produce 20 to 30 eggs per day. That’s approximately 1 egg for very hour of a day. Considering that not all eggs survive, you could be facing thousands of fleas after a month.
What’s flea fecundity?
Flea fecundity is basically the total number of eggs a female flea can lay in her lifetime.
According to Flea Science, new research on flea control tells us that the average female house flea lays less than 200 eggs in her life. So we can estimate that the average fecundity of house fleas is about 175 eggs. That’s counting the fact that female fleas live for only 7 days and can only produce about 25 eggs a day.
So if you’re still procrastinating on treating your house for fleas, these numbers should convince you to stop.
Aside from giving us uncomfortable bites, fleas can carry deadly diseases that can endanger your family. No need to guestimate and ask, “How fast do fleas multiply?” You should seek out effective flea treatments right away.