How Long Do Fleas Live? – Frequently Asked Questions About Fleas

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We get asked about pest-related questions a lot. Questions like “How long do fleas live?” and “Can fleas live without a host?” may seem uninteresting at first. But, they are actually valuable facts that you can use to plan your flea treatments at home.

Remember the answers to these questions, they might come in handy soon.

How Long Do Fleas Live? – Frequently Asked Questions about Fleas

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Fleas have four major stage in its life. The two insects above are an adult flea and a flea larva.

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How long do fleas live?

Fleas have a very short lifespan compared to human years but a relatively long one for an insect. Once they mature, a typical flea can live for about 2 to 3 months. But if they don’t find a host by then, they’ll obviously die sooner.

A flea’s primary function is to feed and multiply. That’s why they can increase their numbers very fast. They also need a suitable environment to thrive, places where they can get obscure hiding spots, a good source of blood and a lot of moisture.

Where do fleas live?

Speaking of a suitable environment. We know that fleas like to stay in areas where they can readily access their host. However, what most homeowners may not know is that these insects can live in your beddings, carpets, rugs, upholstery and even on your own body.

According to Pet MD, fleas also prefer specific places outdoors. They like moist spots with a lot of shade and cool temperatures. These can be in trees, leave piles and other kinds of vegetation. So, by maintaining your yard regularly, you can potentially get rid of this insect.

Get more info on flea hiding places here.

Can fleas survive through pesticides?

Fleas have a fat chance of ever developing a magical resistance against pesticides. In fact, a study made by Coles and Dryden from the US National Library of Medicine in the National Institutes of Health concluded that fleas developing a resistance is one of the most least likely things that could ever happen in an infestation. Fleas only look like they’re tolerant because there isn’t enough of the treatment being applied.

But if you’re still worried about pesticide tolerance, try to give more time for each treatment to work. Be patient with the method you’re currently using. And if that’s not effective, there are plenty of other treatments and combinations to apply.

Do fleas have wings?

Fleas are wingless insects. However, they can jump several times their own height to make up for that. According to Flea Science, they have a set of powerful hind legs that can propel them upward, typically covering a horizontal distance of 8 inches and a height of 5 inches. This is pretty far considering that a flea’s normal size is 2 mm.

What do flea larvae look like?

How Long Do Fleas Live? – Frequently Asked Questions about Fleas (flea larva)

Flea larvae look nothing like their adult counterparts. CC Image courtesy of Kalumet on Wikipedia

For Pet MD, approximately 57% of the fleas in a typical house are larvae. So half of the flea’s population is in their worm-like undeveloped stage.

When eggs hatch, flea larvae come out to eat. They can feed on some plants, dead insects and other flea eggs. They can even feed on animal feces and spread tapeworms.

These larvae spin cocoons to protect themselves. And after 1-2 weeks, they become adults. However, they won’t come out until they’re triggered by vibrations or carbon dioxide from a host nearby.

Can fleas live without a host?

Pet Shed tells us that fleas, like bed bugs, can still function for a short couple of days without a suitable host.

Specifically, these bugs have about 133 days to live if they can’t find blood to feed on. For newly hatched fleas, they have approximately 2 months. That is, if the environment is humid and cool enough, 21°C to 30 °C (70 °F to 85 °F) with a 70% humidity.

So if you’re thinking of just leaving your house to starve the fleas to death, you might be in for a long wait.

Can fleas live on humans?

Unfortunately, there’s a specific flea species that lives on humans. The human flea or Pulex irritans mostly inhabits humans who don’t have good hygiene. It’s a 2.5 to 3.5 mm flea that can be found on your head, in your armpit or in the pubic region.

The good news is that there aren’t a lot of human fleas left in this day and age. And if you’re ever bitten by a flea, it could most likely be a cat or dog flea from your pet.

So those are the most common questions asked about fleas. They might not sound like they’re interesting, but you’ll never when the answer to the question, “How long do fleas live?” can help you solve a terrible flea infestation in your home.