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Posted 06/21/2020 in Fleas by Pest Control Approved

How Long Can Fleas Live Without A Host?

How Long Can Fleas Live Without A Host?

How Long Can Fleas Live Without A Host?

It’s official: Your home has fleas. You are heading to the store to buy up every pesticide, as well as every topical and digestible pet treatment you can find. As you begin your assault on this infestation, you’re probably wondering how long the war for a parasite-free home will take. In other words, you want to know how long fleas can live without a viable host. To estimate how long your infestation will last, first, you must understand the life cycle of these creatures and how you can permanently interrupt said cycle.

Flea Life Cycle

The lifespan of a flea can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. Under the most ideal conditions, they can live up to a year. The cycle begins with a female flea laying eggs. She can lay up to 20 eggs at a time, but only after feeding, and will lay upwards of 500 eggs before death. The eggs hatch, producing larvae. Larvae are two to five millimetres long, living on food particles, skin cells, and the waste of their adult counterparts. Afterward, larvae form cocoons and become pupae.

Fleas in the pupae stage are the most resilient, as they are difficult to find and do not emerge from cocoons until a host is present. This could take anywhere from a few days to a year. If you clean your home thoroughly, and manage to destroy the initial infestation, those missed pupae will still emerge from those cocoons and latch onto the nearest host they sense, up to a year later.

Adult fleas can go pretty far without a meal as well, up to a couple of months. Once fed, the females lay their eggs, starting the process over again.

Factors That Affect the Life Cycle

The lifespan of a flea varies as widely due to its environment. They thrive in warm and humid climates, reproducing faster and in higher numbers if they find a host in such conditions. Cocooned pupae can lay dormant until a host is sensed. The time it takes for newly emerged fleas to survive and eventually lay their eggs depends on how quickly they can attach themselves to a host. Interruptions in this cycle, from cleaning your home and pets to vacuuming to colder weather, extends the time it takes for new generations of fleas to form, if any form at all.

How Long Can Fleas Live Without A Host?

In short, a flea can live at most up to a year without a host in the pupae stage, and at least a couple of months as an adult (if they fed at least once after leaving their cocoons).

As you take the proper steps to pest-control your home, know that if you remove all of the eggs, larvae, and pupae from effected areas, the production of new fleas will diminish significantly, then cease. At that point, all that’s left to do is kill adult fleas on contact and enact preventative measures to combat any potential rebounds.