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Lifecycle of the Flea

Fleas are the most active in the summer months. Although not nearly as dangerous as ticks, fleas can be the cause of severe skin conditions in dogs and carriers of tapeworm.

Fleas spend most of their life on the dog or cat host animal and usually lay their eggs on them. Eggs may occasionally drop to the ground or may be laid in the environment. Larvae develop from the eggs in five to six days, and feed on organic matter, particles of dried blood or faecal matter present in the environment.

When mature the larvae spin a cocoon in which they pupate and, in five days, the adult emerges from the cocoon, ready to infest its host. Thus the complete cycle from time of the laying of eggs to time of the emergence of the adult is roughly four weeks. Fleas can be easily controlled by the regular use of an insecticide. When using any insecticide on your cat be sure it is marked as safe for cats. Owing to the cat's natural tendency to wash his coat some insecticides can be highly poisonous.

Always keep insecticides away from the eyes of your pet and when applying begin at the head and work down the body of the pet.


There are about 1000 species of fleas, which are wingless parasitic insects belonging to the order Siphonaptera. Being without wings is no hindrance to fleas for they have very powerful hind legs which enable them to jump up to 200 times their own length. Fleas feed on the blood of their host which may be Man, animals or birds.

The species which generally attacks Man is Pulex irritans and although it is a nuisance it is not really dangerous. The same cannot be said for the tropical rat flea for it carries the bacillus of bubonic plague which it can transmit to Man in one bite.

Fleas lay their eggs in fur, feathers, hair, dust or dry rubbish where they hatch into tiny hairy larvae with biting jaws to feed on animal refuse. Over a period of four to six weeks they pupate and emerge as adult fleas up to 3 mm in length with hard, shiny, dark skin.

They usually breed in warm weather and may reach plague proportions if unchecked. #Control of fleas# is achieved by strict attention to hygiene, spraying of known infested areas, application of flea powders to birds, poultry and household pets and the extermination of noxious rodents which may carry them.

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