Cat Flea

DESCRIPTION:

Adults are about 1/8 inches long. Their body is laterally flattened and are brownish black to black. They have a reddish back when they are full of blood. They have no wings and hop when they move.

Mature larvae are about twice the size of an adult in length. Larvae is whitish, slender, eyeless, and legless. They do have well developed heads.

HABITS:

It is not necessary to have pets in the house since your blood will do. Fleas can jump about 6 inches vertically.

Many people who leave their homes for an extended amount of time are unaware of the few adult fleas present. They are often greeted and severely attacked by fleas upon their return. this can occur even if the building has been vacant of animals and humans for as long as 6 months. This situation can occur because of the potentially long pupal period. Adults can live for months without food, and because fleas have not been removed via normal vacuuming.

Flea larvae die at humidities that are below 45 % and above 95%, and hence, are rarely found outdoors in arid climates. Larvae fail to develop at temperatures below 55 degrees and above 95 degrees.

BIOLOGY:

The female will lay between 4-8 eggs after each blood meal. They will lay as many as 400-500 eggs during their lifetime. The eggs are deposited on or between hairs, or in the bedding material. The eggs are often shaken off the host and dropped in cracks and crevices since they are not “glued” on the host. The eggs are oval, whitish, and about 1/64 inches long. They usually will hatch in 1-12 days.

The larvae crawl around using their abdominal hooks and seta rings. They feed on organic debris and require dried fecal blood in order to complete development. Larvae require high relative humidity, between 45-95%, and 1-2 weeks to several months to go through 3 intars. The last instar will then spin a cocoon and incorporate surrounding debris on its surface which provides camouflage. The pupal stage may last 4-14 days, under harsh conditions it can last up to a year. The pre-emerged adult remains in the cocoon for up to 140 days, where it is protected from adverse conditions. Adults are stimulated to emerge from the cocoon by mechanical depression of the cocoon, an increase in temperature and possible vibrations.

Adults begin to seek food, blood, on the second day after emergence. They can live for several months on stored body fat. Once they have found a host they will spend all of their time on the that host. They will feed, mate and lay eggs, unless of course dislodged. Depending on the conditions, adults can live up to a year.

SCIENTIFIC NAME:

Ctenocephalides felis Bouche