How Long Can Fleas Live Without a Host

How Long Can Fleas Live Without a Host?

Fleas are generally parasites that need a host to survive. But how long can fleas live without a host? Well, because of their thirst for blood and parasitic nature, they depend on the host most of their time.

  • Fleas can survive for a period of 4-7 days without a host. But if you subject them to any longer than this, they will die.
  • Fleas have different stages of a life cycle but it is the adults that need the host more especially when laying eggs. Fleas can attach to many hosts, but their preferred hosts are the furry homes pets- cats and dogs.

If you study the life cycle of a flea, you shall get the opportunity to learn and understand about the fleas and their host. 

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Details: How Long Can Fleas Live Without A Host?

Because fleas are parasites, it is difficult to live without a host. They get their food from the host to survive and reproduce.

  • But if you take a flea from hosts its chances of survival becomes minimal and can die. The longest they can survive without a host is 4-7 days maximum.

In fact, a female flea will not lay her first eggs until after her first blood meal. Hence they need to find a host so they quickly attach to feed and continue with the next stage of the life cycle. 

Related: Using Dawn Dish Soap for Fleas?

Life Cycle of a Flea 

A flea has a life span of between 60-100 days. But they can live even for a whole year even the conditions are not conducive for the egg, larvae, or pupae to rapture to the next stage.  Let’s have a closer look at the different stages and their behaviors.


This is the first stage in a life cycle. A flea likes to lay its eggs on the host. Most of the preferred hosts are pets at home because their blood is nutritious and makes fleas lay more eggs.

  • When the pet is grooming or shaking, these eggs fall on the carpets, bedding, furniture, and any other surface

The fertilized eggs hatch in a span of 2-12 days. From the total flea population in any house, the eggs comprise about 50-54%. 


This is the second stage of the life cycle. The larvae are translucent to white in color and their size range from 2mm-5mm when they are fully grown.

  • As they mature, their color also changes to a darker color. As for larvae, they prefer dark areas in the house including under the carpets and in the crevices.
  • After hatching, the new larvae feed have a functionally developed mouth that they use to feed on debris, fleas feces, dead skin, and fur among other debris.

Fleas stay in this stage between 2-14 days as they molt their skin to turn into pupae. The larvae comprise about 35 % of the total population.


This pupae flea lives in a cocoon. This cocoon is gluey and holds itself to debris, flea feces, and dust among other things to harden the cocoon for protection.

  • This makes the larvae survive even when exposed to vacuum and other pest controls.
  • If the conditions are right, this cocoon opens up after 5-14 days into an adult flea.

Sometimes, the cocoon may be predisposed to unsuitable weather conditions which may prolong the pupae stage even to a year in the cocoon.


This is the fourth and final stage of a flea. It is at this stage that the pupa moves out of the cocoon into a full adult (male or female). The body is fully grown with all the feeding and survival adaptations. This is the feeding and the reproducing stage.

  • At this point, the fleas is can jump into the host to start their feeding. However, it is very selective on the host and uses some signals like vibrations and exhaled carbon dioxide to detect their best hosts.
  • Their hind legs are also powerful enough to jump 150 times their own length to get to the host. As for the female, they start to lay eggs within a period of 48 hours.

All the eggs laid before mating are infertile and will not hatch. As the flea takes more of pet blood it continues to lay eggs that hatch.

  • A female can lay up 20-30 per day and up to 180 eggs in its lifespan.

However, if the environmental conditions are not good, the pupa may stay in the cocoon for up to a period of one year. The adult fleas are not many and their population is about 5 percent. 

Read Also: Can Fleas Bite Through Clothes?

How Long Do Fleas Live With A Host?

Fleas as parasites that entirely depend on the host for food. An adult flea can live for a period of 60-100 days from which it depends on the host.

In its entire period, an adult attaches to the host unless it’s removed through some external forces like grooming and pest control.

How Do Fleas Feed On The Host?

Fleas feed by sucking blood from their host. Their mouths are adapted to pierce through into the skin to the blood vessel where they draw the blood.

After sucking the blood, they produce an anticoagulant substance that prevents blood from clotting. This substance sometimes causes itchiness and also allergic reactions to pets and also humans.

  • Fleas have a high preference for furry animals and pets as compared to humans. They thrive and increase rapidly when with these animals.
  • Their blood is nutritious and increases the flea’s fertility as compared to that of humans.
  • When feeding, they can do it at least once every 12 hours. They can also suck blood to become gorged 15 times the size of their body.

Basically, if you have pets around your home you are more likely to have a high infestation of fleas as compared to when there are humans only.


How long can fleas live without a host? Approximately 4-7 days beyond which it dies. Because fleas are parasites it is hard for them to live without a host for long.

  • However, fleas have non-feeding stages in their cycle that do not require a host and can live on any other surface.

Fleas prefer furry host-like pets as compared to human beings. They also have adaptations that help them attach and feed on a host and for as long as they can.