How long does a flea live?
The only thought hovering over your mind must how long does a flea live when your are having itches on your waist, armpits, elbow, knee or ankles and red blisters appearing on the skin. Or tiny fleas running through your dog’s furry coat instantly give you jitters, no? But fleeing from a flea is not a solution. You need to treat the flea attack properly to get rid of them. For effective anti flea treatment, knowing about what a flea is and its life cycle is a must. No wonder, you need to be aware of how long does a flea live?
The wingless, external parasites of the order Siphonaptera with mouth structured to pierce skin and suck blood from living hosts (mammals, birds) are called fleas. How long does a flea live is determined by the span of each phase in its life cycle. A flea lives for 30-90 days on an average; however fleas might live for over a year if the survival conditions are ideal. Fleas usually thrive in warm and moist environment with a supply of blood from the host. However a flea can live for just a few days when it is away from the host.
Fleas’ life cycle is complex; hence very few chemicals are effective in killing them while they survive on the hosts. For treating fleas, it is important to understand how long a does a flea live and the life cycle of a flea. A flea’s life is divided into four major phases: egg, larva, pupae and adult.
The first and the foremost stage is that of an egg. An adult lays its eggs in the body of the host which is then dropped wherever the host moves as it cannot stick to the host body. An egg needs ideal (moist and warm) conditions to grow. The flea eggs usually grow into a larva in crevices in floors, walls, under wraps and other moist places. The larva emerges from the egg in a span of two days to few weeks with the help of a chitin tooth, a bony spine that slowly disappears as it matures.
The larval stage is divided into three sub stages lasting for five to eighteen days depending on the surrounding environmental stage. The larvae are long with small hairs on their body and survive on the feces of the adult fleas or the organic debris found in the place they thrive. They can move from one place to another but do not move to illuminate areas. They remain restricted to dark areas and starts spinning a silken cocoon or pupae within one to two weeks of the larval stage.
The pupa is the last stage before the adult flea emerges out of it. The adult flea can emerge out of the pupa in just three to five days or it can also live in the cocoon for around a year if it does not find a suitable habitat for itself. Warm temperature, moist environment or sometimes a host around can help the adult flea emerge faster from the pupa.
In the adult phase, how long does a flea live is determined by the availability of a host, hence the first and foremost task for an adult flea is to find a host and reproduce. But on a host the fleas can live for two years without any other source of food. Since how long does a flea live depends on the surrounding environment, their life span is subjected to variations depending on the environment. A flea can live from two weeks to around two years. Thus it is more the availability of host and the condition of the habitat which determines that how long does a flea live.