How do fleas mate? If you are unfortunate enough to be suffering a flea outbreak, you may be wondering how the mate and therefore spread – to control the fleas effectively.
In this article, we are going to take a detailed look at how these pests reproduce – there are clear signs to show if your house or yard is infested by fleas.
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But the process is not as simple as this. There are certain conditions that the flea needs in order to mate. Let’s take a look at some important factors in the mating process of a flea.
- Fleas which live on cats are known to perform the entirety of their essential day to day needs (feeding, mating and living etc) on their host – control the fleas in the yard.
- It has never been observed that fleas have mated away from their host. The reason for this is that temperature is key when the fleas are mating and they require a warm environment to successfully mate.
- As we mentioned, the fleas require feeding before mating can occur and this is another reason why they always mate whilst on their host as they can mate directly after receiving a blood meal.
Read Also: Do Fleas Stay On Humans?
Males And Females
It has been noted that in most cases, fleas that live on cats are predominantly female. The reason for this is that the female fleas tend to outlive their male counterparts and therefore, even though there are equal numbers of males and females born, the females survive longer.
Structure Of The Male And Female Flea
The male flea is the proud owner of the most complex male genitals known within the animal kingdom. The penis itself is supported by rods which allow for east entry into the female flea.
Their bodies feature a shield on the outer portion to protect the reproductive organs and underneath this can be found a clasper which is used to attach the male to a female.
The female flea has an area which is used for storing the sperm of the male but her reproductive organs are nowhere near as detailed or complex as the male.
How Do The Males And Females Find One Another?
Of course, in order to mate the male and female fleas must locate one another and it is thought that this is done through the release of chemicals, or pheromones given off by the females.
The male is then able to use his antenna to detect these chemicals and locate the female. Once a male has located his chosen female, he will approach her with an erect antenna which signal that he wishes to mate.
The pair will connect initially at the head and then on the lower portion of the body. The male will use his antenna and legs in order to restrain the female during the mating process and will often remain like this until the entire ritual is over.
One of the most interesting points about the mating of fleas is that during the process, the female will continue to feed unless she is not interested, in which case she may kick the male and walk away.
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Fertility Of Female Fleas
Once the mating is over, it is then left to the female to lay her eggs. It is interesting to note that the more a female flea mates, the more fertile she becomes.
A virgin female is able to lay unfertilised eggs and this is thought to be a step in the direction for the evolution of asexual reproduction in these creatures.
The viability of eggs increases by 30% after the first mating which is helpful information when it comes to attempting to eradicate fleas from your pet or home. The quicker you can do it, the less fertile the fleas will be, therefore making it easier to tackle these parasites.
How Soon After Finding A Host Do Fleas Mate?
If you are concerned about a flea infestation, one of the key factors to consider is how quickly mating will occur, and the bad new is that it is quite quick.
Once the fleas establish themselves on their host, it is known that mating can begin as quickly as eight hours later. The maximum time is usually around 24-34 hours. Before the fleas can begin mating, they must take a feed and so this becomes their first priority.
How do fleas mate? The mating process of the flea is somewhat complicated and yet it is also a very interesting subject – control the bugs with flea bombs or foggers.
One of the most important factors to remember is that fleas can begin mating within hours of finding a host and taking a meal.
Therefore, it is important to maximize your efforts to rid your pet of fleas as soon as you find them to avoid the females becoming more fertile and producing more eggs.