Flea larvae are concentrated in places that pets sleep or relax like carpet fibers. Also, the carpet fibers may hinder insecticides like foggers from easily penetrating and killing the larvae.
On where do flea larvae live? Fleas larvae will live in those micro-habitats that are dark, with moderate temperature, and high humidity with enough flea food.
- So, in your home, you’ll find flea larvae (and over 80% of the fleas) growing in carpet fibers.
- You’ll also get fleas larvae around the pet’s resting areas – including around dog houses, holstered furniture, floorboard cracks, and pet bedding.
Requirements for the Flea Larvae to Thrive?
The habitat requirements for the flea larvae to thrive – not that these won’t be widespread for the flea larvae. These worm-like creatures will require some unique substrates to allow better hatching and maturing.
You’ll find such appropriate habitats either outdoors or indoors – but from the eggs in the flea population – just a few will get to the adult stage.
Flea larvae mainly from the cat fleas don’t live like parasites on hosts such as cats and dogs – they’re considered free-living. But they’ll hunt for food in the surroundings with their random foraging habits.
But the worm-like bugs will largely feed on dried feces (waste) dropped by adult fleas. The larvae will also eat younger larvae and flea eggs – but they won’t eat organic debris from hosts like cats.
On food-seeking, flea larvae will move around the areas that have food. For instance, they’ll move to an area with food (about 90 cm) after they hatch in one without – beating starvation – which can happen in 3 days.
Dark areas will be lovely for the flea larvae to thrive. These creatures tend to die when sun-exposed or if they’re kept in open locations – this is because there will be low RH and it’s hot.
The worm-like creatures tend to escape sunlight by burrowing deep into clutter, yard leaves, (or sand), or moving to the shaded places – this is to avoid light.
3. Ambient Temperature
Consider the ambient temperatures where the flea larvae will be as it’ll affect how the bugs will survive. Their survival will be diminished at temperatures over 95°F (35°C) and under 55.4°F (13°C).
Flea larvae will survive best at ambient temperatures of between 27°C – 32°C (89.6°F) and 80.6°F. On the extremes low, flea larvae will take around 15°C with the ideal temperature being between 25°C to 30°C.
4. Relative Humidity
On relative humidity, flea larvae will die when it’s relatively low as the dry conditions cause fast desiccation. So, I note that these bugs require 50% to 95% relative humidity (RH) to survive.
Ideally, fleas require a 75 to 92% RH for great survival but some researchers report that a 60% RH on the lower side can work while 80% RH is also suitable on the higher end.
For relative humidity that’s more than 75%, the flea larvae will take in high amounts of water from the surroundings and thus they’ll become healthier and larger.
- But the flea larvae won’t live when the relative humidity goes above 95%. But the larvae will also survive at 12% RH – dry air provided there is a moist substrate with 1% to 20% soil moisture. ‘
5. Micro-climates and Micro-habitats
As noted earlier, fleas larvae will thrive best in protected micro-habitats such as dark and cool areas. This is due to the stable temperature and humidity (great micro-climates) that are moderate.
On larvae movement, the “baby fleas” are super mobile but lack appendages, feet, or legs – they move through squeezing and relaxing the skin muscles while they’re on some dry area.
For distance, flea larvae will move under 15 centimeters to about 46 centimeters on the carpet once it has hatched. But when they move from eggs to growing into a cocoon, the larvae move around 20 centimeters.
- But compared to the first instar, the second instar are able to move further – but either way, none of the flea larvae stages will go beyond the eclosion point.
On stimuli, flea larvae will move away from light – considered as negatively phototactic but will move with gravity – described as positively geotactic.
Further, the worm-like creatures are thigmotactic and positively hygrotactic meaning that they react positively to physical contact and high humidity respectively. They’ll avoid pet and pedestrian traffic.
Where Do Flea Larvae Live?
1. Around the House
Flea larvae will hide around the house in those protected areas especially under the rugs, and carpet fibers. They may also hide on hardwood floors – in the crevices and cracks.
You won’t find the flea larvae on areas with linoleum floors or tiled floors. However, you may find baby bugs under furniture, upholstery, cushions, dirt-floor basements, rugs, and pet bedding.
Around the house, flea larvae will hide around dense shrubs and ground cover where the relative humidity is over 45% always. You’ll find them under organic debris like the soil, leaves, branches, grass.
- However, notice that the organisms won’t go deeper than few millimeters or go deep in places that have soil moisture of more than 7 percent – they’ll drown when the soil moisture is over 20 percent.
2. In the Yard
Other locations that the larvae will live include the yard or lawns. But the bugs rarely get suitable habitats in the outdoor spaces.
For example, recent research found that just about 4% of flea-infested homes have bugs in outdoor spaces. Such outdoor habits need to have wind protection, a shade, and high humidity for fleas to live comfortably.
So, in the outdoor spaces, you won’t find flea larvae around the yard grass, and under trees since these areas have low RH (Relative Humidity).
- But fleas and flea larvae will die most during late winter and survive best during early fall – times when they’ll massively attack your pets.
If the habitat allows flea dirt and eggs to exist, then flea larvae will also survive. The bits from fleas will trigger scratching and irritation – processes that dislodge the flea dirt and flea eggs.
Further, fleas won’t survive in a location that has poor drainage, sprinklers, and heavy rainfall, as they’ll eventually drown and also wash the flea dirt.
Flea larvae (including over 50% of fleas) will burrow into the carpet fibers.
- The carpet fibers will protect the bugs from the direct sunlight or desiccating air flow that may kill them.
Carpets that are made to accumulate some dirt at their base will build up food for the flea larvae. The location has moderate ambient temperature and relative humidity – great for fleas.
Further, the carpet offers a canopy to protect the bugs and their larvae from being exterminated by insecticides or also mechanical damage such as vacuuming.
The carpets will also hold some organic debris – keeping the larvae food safe and hidden. Also, the bugs tend to coil themselves when they notice disturbances.
4. Other Rooms
Further, you may find the immature flea larvae around the carpeted rooms, living rooms, and bedrooms – especially areas that your pets rest.
As they move around the rooms, they’ll drop many eggs as they jump to the ground or off the furniture. Check the pet furniture and bedding – or near the human’s bed.
- Also, inspect outdoor areas that have under structures, animal burrows, crawl spaces, flower beds, pet shelters, and dog houses.
So, on ‘where do flea larvae live?’, well, flea larvae will live near places with flea hosts (cats & dogs), and flea dirt, and organic debris including carpets, pet bedding, and the house.