After completion of the study of Fleas, the trainee should be able to:
Understand the cat flea life cycle and how it contributes to flea problems.
Discuss habitat alterations and why they are needed.
Identify pesticide application methods for flea control.
Understand when, how and why IGRs are helpful.
The secret to flea population management is the
flea's life cycle; the adult must contribute timely
nourishment for larvae under special conditions or the
young will not survive. No longer a regional problem,
today fleas are common in all parts of the country
except very dry areas.
The most important species that pest control
technicians must manage is the cat flea which feeds on
a variety of hosts, including cats, dogs, rodents, foxes,
opossums and humans. This flea prefers pets and will
not affect humans unless populations are excessive or
the pet is removed from its resting areas. The situation
that occurs when families remove the pet, take a
vacation, then return home to find ravenous fleas is
After feeding an adult female flea will lay up to
An outline of the sequence of events:
several hundred eggs within three weeks. Flea eggs
A summertime vacation assures good
develop in pet resting areas in warm humid climates.
flea-growing conditions (temperature
The tiny flea eggs are very smooth and rounded. They
do not stick to pet hair and are easily scratched or
Taking the pet removes the main host.
shaken off. When they fall on pet bedding furniture,
While the family is away, larvae
carpets, etc., they shake down to the same level as the
continue to develop, feeding on dried
pepper-like dried blood (see larvae and adults). These
blood; pupae complete their cycle and
eggs will hatch in one week to ten days.
are ready to emerge.
The family returns to the adult fleas
emerged and emerging -- ready to feed
Larvae are tiny, wormlike, whitish (almost
and accept ALL available warm-blooded
transparent) insects with a small brown head. When
larval fleas hatch, they are only l/6 inch long; after
Module One, Chapter 7, Pg 1