Starting the fight against fleas in an apartment or in pets, it is important to understand that fleas reproduce quickly, efficiently and at the same time are very unpretentious to environmental conditions. They are insects with complete transformation. This means that the larva of the flea leaving the egg is very different from the adult insect, both externally, and its way of life, the way it feeds and the behavior.
This type of development of insects has certain evolutionary advantages: due to the fact that larvae and adults eat different foods and live in different places, they do not compete with each other for food and therefore are more likely to survive.
On a note
Similar to the flea-like type of reproduction is also characteristic of butterflies, beetles, mosquitoes with flies, wasps and ants. Everyone knows how much the caterpillar differs from the butterfly. Approximately as great are the differences of the adult flea from its larva.
Another type of development is demonstrated by cockroaches, grasshoppers, bugs and dragonflies. Their larvae, called nymphs, are quite similar to adult insects, and in many cases live with them and eat the same food. Such development has its advantages in terms of access to a large amount of food - the same cockroaches in the rainforest by feeding all individuals with the same food can simultaneously "master" a large number of decaying organic remains.
The process of reproduction of fleas is almost always hidden from the owners of domestic animals, and for a person without special knowledge and attempts to observe it proceeds at all inconspicuously. However, the numerous nuances accompanying such a multiplication of parasites are very interesting to talk about them in more detail.
It would be wrong to say that fleas reproduce in cats or dogs. Reproduction of fleas is not at all tied to host animals or even to humans. All that parasites need from mammals is blood. After they have eaten, they go on to continue their family in more peaceful and secluded places.
Thus, fleas do not live on cats, dogs and other animals: parasites only temporarily jump on them for food.
A bit of biology: from egg to adult parasite
The female flea mates after a very short time after leaving the pupa. Mating can occur both on the animal itself, and in its hole, on the litter, in any secluded place, where two sex-different individuals will find each other. After this, the female needs to feed at least once with the owner's blood, so that the eggs in her body begin to develop.
Fleas in cats and dogs multiply near places where animals rest, near their toilet. Sometimes the female fleas lay even eggs on the pet's fur, and after that the eggs crumble in different places of the room on the floor.
It is interesting
The flea can starve without harm to itself for several months. However, during such a hunger strike, the female will not put off any eggs.
Eggs ripen in the body of fleas in batches - 4-5 pieces (up to 15) after each feeding. After this, the flea, anywhere, no matter where it is, even on the animal's fur, literally shoots eggs from its body so that they fly far enough. This is a kind of guarantee that the larvae will live far from each other and will not compete for food, as well as a guarantee that at least some of them will be able to find shelter and food in general.
The flea eggs have a small size - up to 0.5 mm in diameter, white, almost invisible to the unaided eye, even on a dark surface. They develop at least two days (at elevated temperature), and in normal conditions - about two weeks.
It is interesting
Optimum conditions for the development of fleas parasitizing on domestic animals - a temperature of about 23-25 ° C and a humidity of about 60%. When the temperature is lowered, they can experience a decrease in humidity, and conversely, when warming, they easily transfer excess moisture.
On the contrary, at high temperatures and dry air, eggs and larvae dry up, and in cold, moist air, they die from hypothermia. At high humidity and high temperature, fleas multiply at the highest rate. In this case, on average, they are larger.
Severe conditions - frosts, drought - are usually experienced by pupa fleas. In this case, the entire breeding cycle of fleas can stretch for several months, and sometimes - up to a year and a half.
From the eggs of the fleas larvae appear, similar to white translucent worms. At first they are quite small - about a millimeter in length - but as they grow three times molt and at the last stage reach 4-5 mm. At this time in their body is seen the esophagus, filled with their main food - organic remains, pieces of skin of host animals, excrement of adult fleas containing undigested blood.
After three or four weeks (at least 7-8 days), the larva entangles itself with a thin silk cocoon and turns into a pupa. In this form it does not feed, move, breathe a little and can experience strong changes in temperature and humidity, lack of a source of food.
It is interesting
An adult flea can short-term withstand a decrease in air temperature around it to minus 40 ° C. The pupa is also stable, but eggs and larvae die already at near-zero temperatures and in light frost.
At the pupal stage, the insect stays from 5 days to a year, depending on the conditions. In the tropics and apartments, adult fleas leave the pupae very quickly. While breeding insects in the nests of birds and animals in temperate and northern latitudes, those pupae that found themselves in the nest after the owners left it will languish in this form until the next year when the inhabitants return to the shelter.
In a special scientific video detail shows how fleas proliferate and how the development of insects develops at all stages. Fleas in cats and dogs reproduce in this way, regardless of the specific species.
How quickly do fleas multiply?
In general, we can say that fleas reproduce very quickly. Under certain conditions, the cycle during which the larva hatches from the egg, moults three times, turns into a pupa, an adult comes out of it, mates and lays off a new clutch (the so-called "egg-to-egg" cycle) in 9-10 days.
Simply put, a generation change occurs in fleas for just over one week. But this is a rather rare case. More often than not, in normal house conditions under a litter in a cat (or in the conditions of a fox or gopher burrow in nature) fleas survive such a cycle in three to four weeks.
Generally speaking, it is in the apartments or in the back rooms, where the comfortable temperature is maintained all year round, fleas reproduce most rapidly.
Exotic fleas, exotic reproduction
Different types of fleas are known for specific details of their reproduction.
So, the female of the sand flea , usual on the beaches of India and the Caribbean islands, bites into the skin of its victim and sucks to the blood vessel. For a few days of constant nutrition, its body swells up to the size of a pea. But this is not a reservoir of blood. This is a large set of eggs that develop as long as the insect has a food source.
After a few days, all the eggs are thrown out by a sand flea from the wound, and she either perishes or leaves the victim. A person or an animal in the place where the flea is attached develops inflammation, the victim experiences very severe pain. Sometimes as a result of repeated attacks, people develop gangrene.
And the flea alakurt, which inhabits the Tien Shan in fleece sheep, swells up to 7 mm in length at the time of egg laying and looks like a striped worm. Local shepherds call it "motley worm". There are cases of death of sheep to death in serious infection with alacurts.
Fleas, a cat and an apartment: the reproduction of fleas in these conditions
Fleas in the apartment multiply in places in which they are the most secure. Usually their larvae develop behind skirting boards, under furniture, in garbage cans, in closets, in which debris or dirt accumulates, in litter in the places of rest of the cat, under the parquet.
In private houses, flea larvae can develop right under the house on the street, and fleas come to feed in the house.
Knowing these features of fleas, when exterminating them you need:
- carefully handle insecticide drugs floors, carpets, beds of dogs and cats, parquet, plinth, shelves in closets;
- especially diligently spend wet cleaning, and it is desirable not only after the persecution of fleas, but every week in general - so with the garbage from the apartment will be removed most of the growing generation of parasites;
- repeat the treatment of the room with an insecticide two weeks after the first persecution - this will destroy the fleas, which will be removed from the survivors of the first barking of the pupae.
It is also useful to consider in detail how the flea larvae look to meet them accidentally in or around the house, take timely measures and protect themselves and their families from parasites.