A Day in the Life of a Flea

Hi!  My name is Mrs. Fleanice, and I am here today to talk today about what it’s like being a flea.

 

So I am a Ctenocephalides felis, or a cat flea.  Although I am called a cat flea, I can feed off any mammal.   My species is also the most common type of flea infesting dogs as well as cats.  I am a small (1 to 2 mm long), dark brown to black insect with a thin appearance, and I have very powerful hind legs that can propel me quite high (almost 1 foot) for my small size.

 

I had a very normal flea childhood.  My mother laid a salt-like egg that slid right off of the dog she was living on.  My egg resided in between the boards of a hardwood floor for a couple of days.  After about 4 days, I hatched into a flea larva (which looks like a tiny maggot).  It sounds quite gross, but as a larva, I fed on my mother’s and other family members’ poop.  Flea poop is a nutritious meal for flea larvae as the poop is essentially dried blood.  As I grew, I shed my skin a couple of times and went through 3 larval stages.  In ideal conditions (warm and humid), I began to spin a cocoon and became a pupa during my 3rd larval stage.  My cocoon is very sticky so I can stick to a host or gain a shell of dust and fine debris.  After about 3-4 weeks, I emerged as a beautiful butterfly…just kidding!   After 3-4 weeks, I became a full-fledged adult flea.   I found a comfortable dog to live on and started meeting boy fleas and partying!  So far I’ve produced over 100 eggs, and I plan to continue feeding, partying, and producing more eggs until the day I die!

 

Here are some really interesting facts about my life and fleas:

  • If I didn’t find a suitable host right away, I could have lived for months without a blood meal.  I would simply wait for an appropriate host to come by.  Sometimes while people are on vacations and their dogs are not at home, we party in their house.  So when the owners come home, a bunch of us have hatched and we’re ready to feed.
  • If you see me on your dog, then you probably have hundreds more fleas in the larval and egg stages in your house.  As adults, we only make up about 5% of the flea population.   That means for every adult flea you see, there are 95 more you’re unable to see.
  • Our eggs and larvae tend to accumulate wherever the animal we’re feeding on spends the most time.  We don’t really care if that’s a pet’s bed, a human’s bed where the pet sleeps, a couch, a dog house, or even the dirt in your back yard.  As long as the temperature and humidity are ok – we will survive.
  • When the temperature is between 55F and 90F, and the relative humidity is 92% we can go from an egg to an adult in about 14 days, but it can take 140 days when the environment is not as ideal.
  • We also carry a tapeworm that can be passed to dogs and cats if the animal happens to eat one of us on accident.
  • I can bite a pet up to 200 times per day!
  • There are a number of products that can kill us.  Because of our complex life cycle, your pet’s veterinarian can recommend a treatment plan that encompasses multiple life stages.  If you just focus on killing adults, you’ll continue to see fleas because of all the other stages of our life cycle.  Of course…as a flea, I recommend just letting us feed on you and your pets forever!

 

 

I hope you found my life very interesting.  Even though I love partying on your pet, I know Dr. Katie or Dr. Debbie would love to help you stop our party.  If you have any questions, call them today 573-875-3647.

Hi!  My name is Mrs. Fleanice, and I am here today to talk today about what it’s like being a flea.

 

So I am a Ctenocephalides felis, or a cat flea.  Although I am called a cat flea, I can feed off any mammal.   My species is also the most common type of flea infesting dogs as well as cats.  I am a small (1 to 2 mm long), dark brown to black insect with a thin appearance, and I have very powerful hind legs that can propel me quite high (almost 1 foot) for my small size.

 

I had a very normal flea childhood.  My mother laid a salt-like egg that slid right off of the dog she was living on.  My egg resided in between the boards of a hardwood floor for a couple of days.  After about 4 days, I hatched into a flea larva (which looks like a tiny maggot).  It sounds quite gross, but as a larva, I fed on my mother’s and other family members’ poop.  Flea poop is a nutritious meal for flea larvae as the poop is essentially dried blood.  As I grew, I shed my skin a couple of times and went through 3 larval stages.  In ideal conditions (warm and humid), I began to spin a cocoon and became a pupa during my 3rd larval stage.  My cocoon is very sticky so I can stick to a host or gain a shell of dust and fine debris.  After about 3-4 weeks, I emerged as a beautiful butterfly…just kidding!   After 3-4 weeks, I became a full-fledged adult flea.   I found a comfortable dog to live on and started meeting boy fleas and partying!  So far I’ve produced over 100 eggs, and I plan to continue feeding, partying, and producing more eggs until the day I die!

 

Here are some really interesting facts about my life and fleas:

  • If I didn’t find a suitable host right away, I could have lived for months without a blood meal.  I would simply wait for an appropriate host to come by.  Sometimes while people are on vacations and their dogs are not at home, we party in their house.  So when the owners come home, a bunch of us have hatched and we’re ready to feed.
  • If you see me on your dog, then you probably have hundreds more fleas in the larval and egg stages in your house.  As adults, we only make up about 5% of the flea population.   That means for every adult flea you see, there are 95 more you’re unable to see.
  • Our eggs and larvae tend to accumulate wherever the animal we’re feeding on spends the most time.  We don’t really care if that’s a pet’s bed, a human’s bed where the pet sleeps, a couch, a dog house, or even the dirt in your back yard.  As long as the temperature and humidity are ok – we will survive.
  • When the temperature is between 55F and 90F, and the relative humidity is 92% we can go from an egg to an adult in about 14 days, but it can take 140 days when the environment is not as ideal.
  • We also carry a tapeworm that can be passed to dogs and cats if the animal happens to eat one of us on accident.
  • I can bite a pet up to 200 times per day!
  • There are a number of products that can kill us.  Because of our complex life cycle, your pet’s veterinarian can recommend a treatment plan that encompasses multiple life stages.  If you just focus on killing adults, you’ll continue to see fleas because of all the other stages of our life cycle.  Of course…as a flea, I recommend just letting us feed on you and your pets forever!

 

 

I hope you found my life very interesting.  Even though I love partying on your pet, I know Dr. Katie or Dr. Debbie would love to help you stop our party.  If you have any questions, call them today 573-875-3647.