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Neat Facts About Immature Fleas

Before fleas become the tiny, jumping insects you see on your pet, the flea goes though several stages of flea “childhood.” Here are some fun facts about a flea's life before it reaches adulthood.

  • Flea mothers lay up to 60 eggs per day in groups of about 20 eggs. Over a season, she will lay as many as 600 eggs. Flea eggs are about 1/50 of an inch long, oval shaped and pearly white.
  • Eggs hatch in 2 days to 2 weeks, depending on how warm and humid their environment is during gestation. The cozier the eggs are, the faster they hatch.
  • Flea larva are small, white, and completely blind. They are afraid of light and will hide in dark cracks and corners.
  • Flea larvae eat old skin, hair and other organic matter. They especially like to eat the feces of adult fleas, called “flea dirt.” This feces is filled with blood that the flea larvae use for nutrients.
  • Flea larvae are translucent, and you can see their digestive tract inside their body. Once they've eaten flea dirt, the blood in the digestive tract can be seen, making the flea larvae appear reddish brown in color.
  • Flea larvae go through three stages of development, shedding their skin three times before they reach the next phase.
  • Once a flea larva has finished growing, it spins a sticky, silky cocoon for itself. The developing flea inside the cocoon is called a pupa.
  • Flea pupae go through three more stages of development while they are in their cocoon, a process that takes about eight days.
  • Fleas don't emerge from their cocoon as soon as they are finished developing. Instead, the flea waits inside the cocoon for signs that a food source is nearby. Signs include vibration, warmth, carbon dioxide, and pressure: indicators that an animal is near who will make a good adult-flea home.

If you want to keep adult fleas from attacking your pet, getting rid of flea in the home during their immature stages is important. Flea eggs, larvae and pupae can be killed with chemical sprays, powder or flea bombs.

Young fleas can also be eliminated by vacuuming carpets and furnishings, then removing the vacuum contents from the home. Hot water washing of pet bedding and blankets can also remove many immature fleas.

By killing fleas before they can reach adulthood, you can keep fleas from reproducing. This keeps your pet and your home flea-free.  This article is for educational purposes and as always, you should always work with your local vet to create a balanced and safe flea prevention plan.

For more interesting flea facts and pet tips, visit, a free growing pet forum sponsored by Munster Animal Hospital that is safe for families and kids.

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Updated December 22, 2010
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