Many recklessly believe that fleas live only on animals, for example, on cats and dogs, and without them they quickly die without a food source. Practice also shows that the average person very vaguely imagines how many fleas live: here the general idea of parasites is that they live very long. After all, it would seem, they constantly swarm in the animal's fur, while nowhere in the apartment and at the pet can not find dead fleas.
In fact, among fleas there are no long-livers, and these insects live very briefly, and the environmental conditions have a very significant influence on the lifespan of the parasite.
On the life span of fleas in different conditions, about where exactly the adults of the parasite and their larvae live in the apartment, and also how long they can live without food - we will discuss this in more detail later.
Life spans of fleas
The average life expectancy of adult fleas is 2-3 months. During this time, the insect usually manages to make about 60-100 bites on its prey, and the female lays 400 to 500 eggs.
All these figures are typical for the ideal conditions for the existence of a parasite, and it is implied that the flea dies of its natural death. For different types of fleas, such optimum conditions of life are quite definite combinations of temperature and humidity of air. For example, rat fleas live for about 2 months at a temperature of 14-15 ° C and humidity of about 60%, and chicken fleas live the same term at 40 ° C and relative humidity of about 80%.
About the same number live fleas in the apartment, provided that they are not struggling with special drugs and insects they have constant access to food.
When the average temperature in the habitat increases, the period of life of fleas is reduced. At the limiting temperatures for each species (for usual in the apartments of cat and dog fleas it is 36-37 ° C) insects live only about three to four weeks. At the same time, the development of their eggs and larvae proceeds much faster, and the flea life cycle and the cycle of their reproduction are greatly reduced.
On the contrary, at low temperatures the life span of the flea is stretched, and at the lower boundary of its specific temperature range, parasites can survive even up to one and a half to two years.
It is interesting
At high temperatures, fleas grow larger than the average species representative. On the contrary, they decrease when the temperature is lowered.
The cycle of reproduction of fleas also depends on temperature. Their larvae develop at the optimum temperatures for about a month, at high temperatures - a little over a week, and at extremely low temperatures - up to 8 months.
Another two weeks develop eggs, on the order of three weeks the insect stays at the pupa stage.
In general, "from egg to egg" the breeding cycle of fleas takes from 10 days to 1 year. And the life expectancy of one flea from the egg to death can stretch from one and a half months to several years.
As a rule, in nature fleas do not live long even in comfortable conditions - they are constantly destroyed by the owners themselves, biting them out of wool. In addition, fleas are dying from their own infections and parasites.
It is interesting
At the pupa stage, fleas can survive very severe conditions - frost, icing, severe droughts and the action of insecticides. Theoretically, the pupa of the flea can survive for several years.
Thanks to this specific life cycle, a flea can survive very unfavorable environmental conditions, and sometimes - many of its owners. So, for example, if an animal on which fleas are fed dies, insects almost instantly leave its corpse (fleas can not feed on blood on a fallen animal).
Fleas are long-livers, or when parasites break records
In general, of all the fleas live longer species of large species, parasitic mainly on ungulates.
For about a year, the so-called "motley worm" lives on the sheep - the Tien Shan flea, reaching a length of 7 mm. Some fleas that parasitize northern animals may fall into a prolonged stupor during the winter season and live generally more than 14-16 months. At low temperatures for these species, their lifespan can be several years.
But about the life span of fleas on humans and animals should be said separately - in view of established stereotypes, many incorrectly believe that parasites live permanently on their masters.
How long fleas live on humans and animals: debunking established myths
Scientists are well aware that fleas on humans do not live. Also they do not live permanently in other mammals, including domestic animals (although it seems to many that the main habitat of parasites is the fur of cats and dogs). Fleas can not live on their masters at all - they need to breed in calm and safe places, and the human and animal body is not suitable for this.
In humans, as in cats and dogs, fleas jump only to be saturated with blood. The whole process of feeding, consisting of several bites, can last from one minute to several hours, and after saturation the flea jumps off the animal. However, because of the large number of parasites, it usually gives the impression that there are a lot of them on the animal and they, in fact, live here.
So, given that animals and humans do not live on fleas, they should be sought elsewhere in the apartment. Usually they hide in the litter on which the animal rests, in the carpets and behind them, behind the skirting boards, in the crevices of the floors, piles of garbage in the corners, among the old rubbish. Here, their wormlike larvae usually develop.
Fleas rarely live in clothing, although if they are wound up in an apartment, they can be found in the closet. The main requirement to the place in which they are - a quick and quick access to food (animal or human).
Although without food, fleas live long enough.
Parasites without a host: how long can fleas live without food?
Like many other bloodsucking insects, fleas can go hungry for a long time. Cat and human fleas, most often attacking a person, can do without food for several months, while maintaining mobility and not falling into anabiosis.
However, no matter how many fleas live without food, they can not breed without constant reinforcement. Female fleas for egg laying must necessarily drink blood.
Thus, without an animal or a human, the fleas can survive long enough, but they will not be able to reproduce.
On a note
In practice, this means that if people and animals leave the apartment for several weeks or even months, the fleas will calmly wait for them and bite them immediately after their return. Do not expect that while the owners of the apartment will rest on vacation, parasites will die of hunger. And fleas that live in cottages and private homes, quietly parasitize on living here rats and mice, and therefore, even in the absence of a person for most of the year do not starve.
What determines the life expectancy of fleas?
In addition to low temperatures, other factors can affect the life span of fleas:
- Humidity of air - at low, but tolerable humidity fleas live a little longer, although the effect of this factor is not as significant as the effect of temperature.
- Presence of food. Fleas can fast for a very long time, and their duration of life during fasting also increases.
- Constancy of the physical parameters of the environment. In the case of regular temperature fluctuations, parasites can periodically fall into a stupor, and as a whole their life time increases.
It is always worth remembering that fleas are typical parasites whose breeding success is determined not so much by speed and timing as by the number of descendants of each individual flea. So, for the time of its relatively short life, each flea could well become a great-great-grandmother for hundreds and thousands of descendants, and expect that in a particular apartment this process will be stalled for some reason, it's not worth it. Therefore, when breeding fleas should be conducted their total harassment, destroying both adult insects and larvae.
Only in this case parasites can be withdrawn quickly and completely.