Fleas can be found infesting both dogs and cats. But you don’t have to own a pet to suffer from these nasty parasites. Active flea seasons are very common, and they will come along at various times of the year. However, the flea season in your area will entirely depend on where you live.
Despite this, winter is probably the safest period. Fleas don’t like the cold and will only be active during the hot and humid summer and spring months. Fleas can, however, stay dormant for months during winter. They will not manifest themselves, but it doesn’t mean they are not there. The pests will just buy their time, and once the cold months are over, they will pounce without warning.
What Conditions Do Fleas Thrive In?
There are two main conditions that create a thriving environment for fleas – humidity and temperature. The warm weather often signals the beginning of flea season. As a matter of fact, when you look at the flea season map, you will notice that in all northern US states, fleas come out in early spring. The pests will stick around for months until late fall. As the cold temperature starts to set in, adult fleas that are still left over from the hot and humid months will start to die. This normally takes a few days.
However, the larvae and the eggs are a little resilient. They can easily survive the cold winter by going dormant. Once the temperature conditions improve, the eggs will start to hatch again. It is also important to note that, while fleas thrive in warmer climates, they will not survive in areas with extremely high temperatures.
In case you already have an infestation at home, you can deal with it by washing your pet’s bedding on the hot cycle. Make sure you’ve also dried the bedding on the hot settings. The temperatures will easily kill the fleas and the eggs. In addition to the temperatures, fleas will need a lot of humidity to advance their life cycle. An average humidity of about 70% will be perfect for them. Without this, it will be impossible for the eggs to hatch and develop into full-sized mature fleas.
The Life Cycle Of Fleas
Fleas have a total of four stages in their life cycles. The life cycle starts as soon as the adult female lays eggs.
Here is a basic breakdown of this cycle:
Eggs are laid by adult females. Fleas can actually lay between 4-8 eggs at a go. The eggs are often laid on the host animal like your dog or cat.
The eggs laid by female fleas will develop in a few days into larvae. The larvae will develop on the same place the eggs were laid. They will feed on any organic material they can find on the host’s body, including dead skin and adult flea feces.
The larvae will then grow and form a cocoon. The cocoons will then hatch into an adult flea. However, this does not happen automatically. The surrounding conditions have to be ideal for the pupa to develop into a flea.
Adult fleas will emerge from the cocoon when the environmental conditions are right. The adult flea will jump directly on the host and the life cycle will begin all over again. If this is not controlled, the infestation will become very severe in a few weeks.
How To Control Fleas
If you happen to reside in areas with warm weather, there will always be a risk of flea infestation even if your dog spends just a few hours outside. In that case, you need to take preventative measures. You can consult with your vet about possible prevention solutions such as dog flea collars.