Fleas, as well as many other types of insects, in their development undergo a complete transformation. Actually, they are called: insects with a full cycle of transformation. This means that from the eggs that the female flea lays, larvae that are very different from adult fleas are displayed, both in appearance and in lifestyle.
This type of development provides certain advantages for insects: flea larvae and adults do not compete with each other for food sources and habitats, and accordingly at each stage of development parasites have a better chance of survival.
However, for those who try to fight fleas, for example, in an apartment or a house, this type of parasite development creates certain difficulties: in some cases, it is necessary to destroy the larvae with the use of additional means and measures. But first of all they need to be able to detect, in order to know what places to handle insecticides.
What do flea larvae look like?
The flea larvae look like tiny white worms of white color with a translucent body. Even carefully looking closely, they can not see the paws - they simply do not. But the body of the larva is covered with sparse hairs, clearly discernible under a magnifying glass or microscope.
On the photo enlarged several times - the flea larva:
In her body is clearly visible esophagus, filled with digestible food - various organic remains.
The maximum length of flea larvae that can occur in residential areas is 4-5 mm, the usual 2-3 mm. They are easy to confuse with the larvae of flies that live in similar places, but at the same time the spear is more mobile and does not have such transparent coverings of the body.
The flea larva has a fairly large head and 13 segments. Evolutionally, the first three segments served to attach the legs, but gradually the limbs atrophied as unnecessary. Flea larvae are well developed scraping-gnawing jaws, allowing them to eat fairly coarse fodder.
Below the photo shows eggs and larvae of fleas:
It is interesting
The smallest flea larvae, just emerging from the egg, have a small egg tooth on the crown of the head - a solid outgrowth that helps them break through the egg shell and appear in the light. At the first molt, the tooth disappears together with the chitinous membrane of the body.
Regardless of the one on which the flea parasitizes - on cats, dogs or rats (cat, dog and rat fleas), insect larvae look almost identical. Therefore, when detecting flea larvae in cats on a litter or in a resting place, one can never be sure which species they belong to. And there is no special need for this - the lifestyle of all these species is similar, and it is necessary to fight them with the same methods.
In the photo - flea larvae in large numbers in a cage in rodents:
Lifestyle and nutrition of future parasites
Generally speaking, the flea larvae are not parasites. Their food is made up of various decomposing organics, from plant debris, to excrement of adult fleas, in which the undigested blood of the victim is preserved. The larvae themselves do not bite either animals or man.
On a note
The larvae of fleas from cats and dogs do not live on wool. If the pet has any vermiform parasites, these are not flea larvae.
The development of the larva continues, depending on the availability of food and temperature conditions, from 9 days to several months.
Under optimal conditions - a temperature of about 23 ° C and an air humidity of 60%, the larva develops approximately three weeks. During this time they molt three times, constantly grow and feed. At the last stage, the larva entangles itself with a thin silk cocoon and turns into a pupa.
At too high temperatures, the flea larvae dry up - at low humidity this occurs already at 34-36 ° C. At high humidity of air (up to 90%) this temperature the growing juvenile experiences quite normally.
Larvae of fleas can starve long enough - up to 3-4 weeks. In this case, they do not develop, do not grow, but they do not fall into anabiosis. The larvae develop a so-called negative phototaxis - wherever they turn out, they try to get into the least illuminated place. Although the eyes of flea larvae are almost not developed, they well feel the presence of light and try to escape from a lit place.
Where to search for flea larvae in an apartment or house?
Larvae of fleas usually keep where they have direct access to food and can be in comfortable climatic conditions - in garbage, secluded warm places, in animal cells - in the toilet and under the couches. In nature - in the nests and burrows of mammals and birds.
In the apartments and houses of the larvae, fleas should be sought first of all in places of rest and keeping cats, dogs and other domestic animals, in piles of rubbish in closets and closets, among the stocks of old groceries.
On homestead plots in coops and in places where animals are kept, flea larvae live in litter and dried litter. It is under the layer of rubbish and litter in the same coop that the larvae of fleas sometimes swarm with thousands.
However, you can meet larvae of fleas and in completely unexpected places - in vases with flowers, under trash cans, in a box in which vegetables are stored. It is important to understand that they themselves are not planted here, and they should be looked for only when adult fleas were found in the apartment.
The photograph below shows a flea larum under a microscope - it's easy to correlate its dimensions with the thickness of a cat's hair:
Means and methods for the destruction of flea larvae
To destroy the flea larvae in the room follows the same means that are used against adult fleas:
- it can be as diluents for the type of Executioner, Cucarachi or Tetrix, Raptor or Combat aerosols;
- as well as microencapsulated agents such as Dana or Get (the latter is almost odorless);
- and even folk remedies - turpentine, kerosene, vinegar.
Effective against flea larvae and traditional substances such as Dichlorvos or Carbophos, however, because of their safety and ease of use, they are much inferior to modern drugs.
Against flea larvae, dusts are also effective, which are practically useless against adult individuals. However, the use of powdered insecticides is somewhat more difficult, since they need to be scattered in places of permanent dislocation of larvae, which is sometimes problematic, and sometimes - when locating larvae behind skirting boards or under the floor - it is completely impossible.
It is very important that the dust itself must be near the larvae, since it acts only when the pests eat it together with other food. Therefore, it is more difficult to struggle with larvae than with adult fleas - even aerosols in the fight against them need to handle places where it is very difficult to get up and where the adult fleas themselves do not meet.
There is no sense in deducing growing juveniles of parasites with natural preparations that can scare them off. For example, if the same wormwood or tansy can scare adults away from the premises of the parasites, the larvae will have nowhere to go even in the atmosphere of such herbs, and they will simply become accustomed to such intimidating means.
It is interesting
With the constant removal of fleas by public scaring agents, they quickly develop resistance to them. For example, cases of development of resistance in fleas to wormwood, eucalyptus, thyme - grasses, traditionally used as a means for removing parasites from the premises, are documented. This stability almost always develops at the larval stage.
The flea larvae do not enter the room on their own, on cats or dogs. They can appear here only from eggs laid by adult insects. Therefore, the only way to protect the apartment from flea larvae is to prevent adult biting parasites from entering the room.