By breaking the flea life cycle, you will not only prevent further growth but also terminate breeding progress from that particular stage; i.e. eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults.
- On how long does it take to break the flea life cycle; the simple answer is about 1 to 6 months; for the different stages, this is how long it’ll take to break the flea cycle; egg stage break period (10-18 days), larvae stage break period (2 to 3 months), pupae stage break period (4 months.), adult stage break (5 months).
Each stage may be broken independently though the elimination time varies from one stage to another.
When breaking the flea life cycle, it is important to identify the size of the infestation, type of infested items (is it pets, humans, or furniture), prevailing weather conditions, and possible source of infestation.
How Long Does It Take To Break the Flea Life Cycle?
Select a flea termination method that is environmentally friendly and safe for both pets & human beings. Remember, if you are new to the flea-breaking process; contract a professional exterminator for help.
a. Egg Stage Break Period
Upon mating, the female flea lays up to 50 eggs per day on the host – this could be your carpet, furniture, dog, cat, or rag. Eggs easily fall from the host and thus end up spreading in different places.
- These eggs will hatch after 6 to 14 days on average. However, this period decreases in warmer temperatures (warmth favors the hatching process).
To break the flea’s life cycle at the egg stage, you need to destroy all eggs laid as soon as they appear. To do this, you can vacuum your flea-infested items or animals sufficiently -this should be done daily for 10 to 18 days.
- Vacuuming sucks eggs from the host and accelerates the hatching process, which exposes tiny eggs into visible larvae.
- Alternatively, you can use flea’s foggers that are specifically manufactured to kill eggs. You need to spray fleas-infested areas as soon as you see fleas’ eggs (small, tiny, white, and oval-shaped).
Fumigation should be done thrice per week for 3 weeks – this method works best for outdoor fleas elimination. Ensure that the fogger selected is safe for both pets and humans.
- Steam indoor up to temperatures above 100 degrees – at this point, no eggs can survive.
- On average, breaking fleas’ eggs takes 14 to 30 days.
This method may not work effectively, especially when adult fleas fail to lay eggs due to lack of food – remember, an adult flea only lays eggs after a blood meal. In addition, you may fumigate the area far before eggs are laid, thus making the method ineffective.
b. Larvae Stage Break Period
Upon hatching (after about 14 days or so) flea’s eggs become larvae. These are generally tiny worms that hide deepest into the host’s skin, hair, or furniture – usually, larvae are scared away by the light, and hence difficult to see them during the day.
The larvae stage is the largest in the flea cycle (about 58% of the population). By breaking the larvae stage, you will reduce or eliminate fleas’ population far (over half) and reduce further breeding.
- Usually, flea larvae feed on “flea dirt” or flea excrete and dry blood on the host (if any).
- The use of flea larvae sprays works amazingly in killing larva entirely. All you need to do is to spray larvae as soon as they appear – you need to observe the tiny worms crawling on the host.
You can steam -clean your house, furniture, rags, and pet’s beddings thoroughly. Soaking larvae-infested items in concentrated soapy detergent work excellently.
Flea larvae stage stays for 21 to 37 days, after which they change to pupae. Actually, you are advised to continuously undertake larvae elimination at least twice a week for 2 to 3 months at most in order to break the entire link.
c. Pupae Stage Break Period
The flea pupae stage takes about 2 to 3 weeks to mature into an adult. However, it may take even 6 months while still in its cocoon until it finds a live host – recall that flea feeds on blood and hence needs to get a host for meal.
- Though the flea pupa stage is not pronounced as compared to the later ones, this stage is the most cumbersome to break. Why because, most methods tend to fail in killing the live pupae while it’s still in the cocoon.
- By using foggers or sprays, the chemical may fail to penetrate the cocoon layer, thus leaving the pupae alive.
On the other hand, vacuuming will just suck the pupa from the host, while the spinning action may not kill the live pupae as it is in the case of flea eggs.
- Furthermore, the pupa (upon changing to adult) can stay in its cocoon for over 5 months without food, thus evading any surface killing action undertaken.
- Indeed, the best method for breaking the flea pupa stage is steaming or room heating – you can heat chamber/room with flea pupa infestation to temperatures above 100 degrees – high temperatures kill pupa sufficiently.
- Alternatively, you can soak pet’s beddings, infested items, and rags in steam at 100 degrees for a super killing effect. This method can be done once a week for about 4 months.
- NB: Always be keen once you eliminate flea pupa since most play dead but later rise to life.
Normally, you should vacuum your home or furniture thoroughly after steam cleaning – helps pick up dead and live pupae too. The vacuumed waste should be burnt sufficiently during disposal.
d. Adult Stage Break Period
The adult flea plays a vital role in the propagation of the flea life cycle – reproduction. Actually, it’s the adult fleas that mate and lay eggs that bring forth a new generation.
- By breaking the flea adult stage, you will be focusing on the root cause of flea infestation, which is often overlooked.
Adult fleas are highly visible since they move by jumping on their host. They account for about 2% of the entire population. Adult fleas can live for 6 to 12 months, especially when there is plenty of blood meal.
- The use of adult flea foggers works sufficiently in breaking the cycle – cuticle disintegration. Actually, the chemical in the fogger kills the live adult flea, thus preventing future infestation.
Using borax powder over flea-infested items also kills them. However, this power should not be used on pets as it may cause discomfort.
Superheated steam (above 100 degrees) kills adult fleas completely. You can opt to soak fleas infested items in soapy water too – the fleas are suffocated to death.
The process of breaking the adult flea life cycle should be undertaken weekly for about 5 months – case of large flea infestation. Keen monitoring should also be carried out after the breaking period to assess any future re-infestation.
Related: Home Remedies for Fleas
e. Entire Life Cycle Break Period
At times, it may not be possible to eliminate a particular stage of the flea’s life cycle. Therefore, it’s recommended to have a suitable alternative that breaks its entire stages.
Killing the whole flea life cycle (eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult) guarantees safety and security to both pets and human inhabitants. In fact, such an option works amazingly for a large flea population since the reproduction is continuous, thus making it difficult to separate flea life cycle stages while they are still on their host.
- Superheated steam is the best option when it comes to killing the entire flea life cycle – the method kills eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults instantly on contact. You will not find any life flea since high heat levels eliminate any chance of flea survival.
The vacuuming method is just sufficient enough in eliminating the entire flea life cycle – sucks and spins. However, upon vacuuming, the sucked fleas plus larvae and eggs should be burnt sufficiently during disposal – this reduces the chances of live flea escaping.
Currently, we have commercial foggers and sprays that are specially manufactured to eliminate the entire flea life cycle. Such products can be used as well. However, you must be keen on the labels that ascertain required properties and safety accrued to areas you intend to use upon.
By the fact that a single flea can lay over 15 times in a year (over 2000 eggs); then, going for a method that would kill the entire life cycle is highly recommendable. Generally, it will take 1 to 6 months to break the entire flea life cycle and 4 months on average.
Related: Will Baking Soda Kill Fleas
Which Factors Affect the Flea Life Cycle?
Flea’s life cycle is affected primarily by some of the following factors:
Low temperature (below 50 degrees) inactivates the flea’s normal life. Actually, fleas become less active and tend to remain deep underneath the host’s skin or infested items.
- Contrary, warm temperatures favor fleas infestation – they tend to reproduce more and even become extra active on the surface.
However, too much temperature (above 100 degrees) denatures the active enzymes in the flea body, thus leading to death.
Food (blood meal) is critical to any flea as it determines how many days it lives. As highlighted back in this article, upon changing into an adult, the pupae remain in its cocoon until it finds a host.
- Actually, the host is meant to provide blood meals.
Fleas will visit your room just to suck your blood for food. Flea infestation in pet’s beddings basically is just a waiting room for blood-sucking – as soon as your pet sleeps on it; then, fleas begin to bite and suck the blood.
Without food, fleas will vacate or die eventually.
Fleas look for shelter in any host – this could be your furniture, rug, clothes, pet, or carpet. All fleas want is somewhere they can hide temporarily, as they look for their blood meal in the vicinity.
- Fleas have a tendency of sucking blood and retreating to the hideouts – this is a trick used by bedbugs too.
- Your pet beddings or hair will shield fleas sufficiently such that most of the time you may never see them with your naked eyes.
The shelter is key and plays a great role in fleas’ life only when it’s located near the source of food. Otherwise, they will relocate or die out of starvation with time.
Too much much water content in fleas’ shelters inhibits their life and survival. Usually, they get drown and die with time.
Eggs laid on the wet or moist ground fail to hatch, while larvae die of extremely humid conditions.
How to Tell if You Have Fleas in Your Place
Below are ways to tell if you have fleas infestation in your place:
a. Red bites and Inflammation
Once you find red bites on your skin or small inflammation, the chance is that you were attacked by fleas. Unlike bedbugs, flea bites form reddish swell or inflammation.
Moreover, the bites are scattered around a particular area
b. Dried Blood Stains
When bitten by fleas, the bloodstain dries on the skin surfaces and forms a reddish scar. At times, you will find a broken bleeding skin that was just mild, especially when you wake up in the morning.
c. Continuous Scratch by Pets
Flea’s bites leave an itching sensation. Usually, you’ll tend to scratch your skin as soon as you get bitten by a flea.
If you pay close attention to your pet (a dog or a cat), it tends to scratch itself intermittently at different points as soon as it gets bitten. The scratching may last for one minute or so, but not specific.
d. Live Jumping Flea
If you take a keen observation on flea-infested items, you will literally find live fleas jump. The jump could be even a foot wide, depending on where it wants to land.
- Often, fleas jump from the host when they detect danger – perhaps when there is scratching or disturbance. Some jumps are short and continuous.
You need to intentionally disturb the flea hideouts and make keen observations using your eyes.
e. Flea Dirt
‘Flea dirt’ is actually the excrete that’s left behind on their host.
- Normally, you will see blood life stains or dried blood, which when touched detach easily from the skin surface.
For large flea population (especially on pets), the infested area tend to appear reddish – for the case of dogs, it’s around the neck region and ears. The flea dirt may settle on swollen flea bites too.
How to Prevent Flea in Your Home
The following are preventive ways of curbing flea infestation in your home:
- Cleaning/washing all pet’s beddings, carpets, and rags in hot water (with soap) – plus dawn dish soap
- All furniture and pet’s beddings, as well as cloths, should be vacuumed often and inspected against fleas
- Using fleas preventive foggers is recommended in a kennel where necessary
- Fumigate your house often with flea repellant and dispose of dirty items – flea hideouts
- Trim bushes and grass in your home to standard height within your home
- Always get a flea profession to carry out flea inspection
- Frequently take your pets for veterinarian attention – check if they are infested with fleas
- Wash all fleas infested items at high temperature – kills entire flea life cycle
- Often, vacuum your furniture, carpets, pet beddings, and other items to remove any flea attractants in your home.
- Avoid mixing your pets with others from outside – they may be infected
In summary, on how long does it take to break the flea life cycle, the direct answer is 1 to 6 months. However, this period may vary (either decrease or prolong) depending on the stage at which you decide to break the flea life cycle. Flea’s life cycle breaking process will not only curb further growth but also inhibit breeding progress sufficiently.
- Usually, a flea has four stages in its life cycle, i.e. eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult. You can opt to break flea at a specific stage depending on the termination method you select.
- Though each stage may be broken independently, the elimination time needed may vary from one stage to another. In addition, opting for a method that kills the entire flea life cycle would be the best choice.
When undertaking fleas’ life cycle breaking process, it’s wise if you identify the size of the infestation, type of infested items (is it pets, human, or furniture), prevailing weather conditions, and possible source of infestation. More so, go for the flea termination method that’s environmentally friendly and safe for both humans & pets.