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Fleas are insects forming the order Siphonaptera. They are wingless external parasites, living on the blood of mammals (including bats & humans) and birds. Fleas go through 4 life stages of egg, larva, pupa, and adult.The flea life cycle begins when the female lays eggs after feeding. Eggs are laid in batches of up to 20 or so, usually on the host itself,which means the eggs can easily fall off the host on to resting, sleeping & other areas where the host travels.
A female Flea can lay up to 600 eggs in a lifetime. Flea larvae emerge from the eggs to feed on any available organic matter & flea feces. Given an adequate supply of food, larvae should pupate and weave a silken cocoon within 1-2 weeks after 3 larval stages. After another week or two, the adult flea is fully developed & ready to emerge from the cocoon.They may however remain in the cocoon until they receive a signal that a host is near-vibrations (including sound) heat, & carbon dioxide are all stimuli indicating the probable presence of a host.Fleas are known to overwinter in the larval or pupal stages.
Adult fleas must feed within a week or so after emerging from the cocoon, but after that they can survive two months to a year between meals. Fleas can also act as a vector for disease. Fleas can transmit not only a variety of viral, bacterial & rickettsial diseases to humans & other animals, but also protozoans & helminths. Flea infestations can be very difficult for homeowners to eliminate due to the fleas & their eggs & larvae's ability to get deep into carpets etc. & the limited effectiveness of over-the-counter insecticides & foggers.
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