Both humans and pets can suffer from fleas and their bites. Although most fleas don’t live on humans, they can bite humans, causing skin irritation, allergies, and diseases such as typhus and tularemia.

Fleas are usually brought indoors by a pet.  Fleas are survivors and will readily adapt to various temperatures.  The warmer the temperature, the more active and accelerated the life cycle is.

Flea treatment is not a one-time event. Flea infestations require an Integrated Pest Management plan that should include both chemical and physical treatments. Controlling the problem extends beyond getting rid of the ones you see.  Carpet, furniture and window coverings must be cleaned along with bedding and pet bedding.



Fleas attach themselves to the host (usually a cat) and remain to feed; mate and lay eggs. Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day.  The tiny-pearl colored eggs readily fall off the pet, and land on surfaces such as pet beds, carpets or furniture.  They hatch in 2-5 days. The hatched larvae are no longer than 3/16th of an inch, wormlike, with a distinct brownish head, but no eyes or legs.  They crawl around feeding on dried blood and excrement produced by the adult flea. After about 15 days, the larvae build small silken cocoons.  The cocoons are extremely strong, and pesticides CANNOT penetrate the strong outer shell.  The larvae pupate into an adult flea, just waiting to break out of the cocoon.  This is why you can’t get rid of those fleas.

The secure cocoons can protect the unhatched adults for up to 6 months.  It is only when the cocoon hatches, and the adult flea emerges that effective treatment with pesticides can occur. The key to managing the flea at this point is to cause the larvae to hatch on YOUR TERMS.  Agitation such as VACUUM, VACUUM, and VACUUM is the only way to effectively accelerate the process.  Once the fleas have hatched, then a protocol of vacuuming, selective treatment with pesticides and IGR’s, and follow up inspections must be initiated.  This process should be repeated every two weeks until the fleas are eliminated.

For more information on flea identification, life cycle, biology and management check out Pest Notes from UC IPM Online provided by UC ANR.

If you have questions about infestation or need help with eradication, call and mention the website for a free inspection!

Cam Gray