2 minutes reading time (405 words)
10 Fast facts about fleas
At just 1/16” to 1/8” long, fleas may be tiny little creatures, but they can have a huge impact on the warm-blooded animals sharing their environment. Here are some other interesting fun flea facts (say that five times fast!!):
- There are approximately 2000 known species of fleas in world today. Fleas prey on warm-blooded animals, and the great variety of warm-blooded animals living on the earth likely account for the many species of fleas.
- Fleas are very small pests. Measuring just a few millimeters in length. They are also laterally compressed, meaning that their bodies are squished from side to side, so that when you look at them head on they appear very thin indeed. This helps them move between the hairs or fathers of their host animal.
- Fleas, like other insects, have 6 legs. Their hind legs are by far the longest and account for the flea’s incredible ability to jump.
- Fleas are truly jumping superstars! The can jump up to 7” vertically and up to 13” horizontally! That’s over 200 times their body length. If the average 6’ tall man could do that he would be able to jump the length of 4 football fields put end to end!
- Fleas have no wings, and rely solely on being able to jump onto their hosts from the environment.
- Fleas do not hatch out of eggs ready to suck blood. There are 4 stages in the life-cycle of a flea: egg, larva, pupa and adult.
- After having a good meal of blood on a host animal’s body, and adult female is able to lay about 40-50 eggs a day, and several hundred over her life. These eggs then fall off the host, and larva hatch out in the environment.
- Larvae are completely blind, have moveable mouthparts, but do not yet suck blood. They eat adult flea feces, sloughed skin cells, hair, feathers and other organic matter.
- To transform from larvae to adults, fleas enter the pupa stage. Although adult fleas can only remain alive for approximately one week without finding a suitable blood meal, pupae can remain alive for several months until the right conditions are detected.
- Only about 5% of a given flea population exists as feeding adults. The other 95% are split among the other three life stages. An effective treatment against fleas must take this into consideration, and last at least six months to ensure that fleas at all life-stages are eradicated!