Fleas go through four life cycle stages namely egg, larva, pupa and adult, as they are a holometabolous insects. A flea’s life begins when the female lays eggs after feeding on a blood meal.
Each stage lasts a particular time before it metamorphosises into the next. With all conditions being ideal (that is food availability, humidity and temperature), a flea can transform from egg to adult in less than 15 days.
How Long Adult Fleas Live For?
From the time it comes out of the cocoon, an adult flea has approximately a week to find a blood meal. If it does not find a host to provide it with this meal in this time, it starves to death. After it finds its first blood meal, an adult flea can lay its first batch of eggs in two days. The average life of an adult flea is around 3-6 weeks. They will die after having laid enough eggs to start another generation of fleas. While adult fleas do need their first initial blood meal, after getting it they can go into hibernation. This dormant stage can last for up to a year.
How Long Can Flea Eggs Live For?
Flea eggs can survive in this state for between 2 and 14 days, before hatching into the larval stage. How quickly they develop will depend on external conditions. In the absence of proper environmental conditions, flea eggs can remain in this state for up to 90 days before hatching. Relative humidity of below 50% will cause the flea eggs to desiccate and die.
How Long Can Flea Larvae Live For?
Flea larvae emerge from the eggs and move to dark places around the home to feed on any available organic matter. In its hiding place, it also starts to spin its cocoon. With a good enough supply of organic food and the proper environmental conditions, flea larvae pupate within one to three weeks. The larvae molts three times. In the absence of humidity, the larval stage can last up to six months.
How Long Can Flea Cocoons Live For?
Flea pupae will stay in cocoons until vibrations, motion, heat, or carbon dioxide trigger them to come out. These factors are an indication of a potential blood meal. In the right conditions, an adult flea can emerge from a cocoon in just one week. Fleas can remain in their pupal cases for over a year. This explains why vacation homes are swarmed with fleas as soon as vacationers get in. People moving into new homes might also trigger cocoons to open up.
How Long can Fleas Live Without Blood?
Newly emerged adult fleas can live without blood for about a week, after which they will die if they do not find a blood meal. After fleas get a blood meal, they can live for up to a year without another. Keep in mind, adult fleas usually only live a couple months. So living a year only occurs when environmental conditions are not optimal. If adult fleas stay in their pupae, they can also survive without blood for up to a year.
How Long Do Fleas Outside?
Fleas can live outside, even after they have been eliminated from inside the house. As long as the conditions are right, fleas will continue their life cycle outdoors. They prefer humid and shady areas which are conducive for all stages of a flea’s life.
Do Fleas Die in Winter?
It is claimed that winter is a perfect time for nature to eradicate fleas. This is only half true, as only adult fleas will die when exposed to extremely cold temperatures (below 49°F). Fleas that are in the cocoon (pupa) and the larva stage will become dormant until temperatures warm up. In the spring, they will will become active again, and start growing.