Fleas Life Cycle – How to Break It?

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Fleas Life Cycle
Fleas Life Cycle

When your pet or home is infested with fleas, the first step in getting rid of them is to understand their life cycle.

It is important to know about the different fleas stages in order to get rid of them entirely and prevent them from coming back.

Fleas Develop in 4 Stages

Fleas have 4 stages in their life cycle.

  1. Egg
  2. Larva
  3. Pupa
  4. Adult

The flea population usually is composed of about 40% eggs, 40% larvae, 15 % pupae and only 5% adult fleas.

In most of the cases, you will only notice the adult fleas for obvious reasons. Now imagine, if you already see hundreds of fleas in your home, how many eggs and larvae are in development.

You need to act fast and break the lifecycle of the fleas as soon as possible.

Before I give you some tips on how to get rid of fleas quickly, you need to understand each stage first.

Flea Eggs
Flea Eggs (source)

Flea Egg: is the first stage of a flea’s life. The egg is about 1 mm in size and is white colored. In the right conditions flea eggs can hatch in 2 days.

Eggs will hatch best in warm and humid environment. In cold temperatures, below freezing, eggs can survive for months without hatching.

Flea Larva
Flea Larva (sourceCC BY-SA 4.0)

Flea Larvae: after the egg hatches, the flea larvae start crawling and looking for food. They feed on blood too. Larvae are not able to penetrate the skin of a pet or human, therefor they rely on the droppings of adult fleas.

They are about 1-2 millimeters in length and transparent at the beginning. The larvae will become dark colored after feeding starts. Fleas stay in the larvae state from 5 to 14 days, depending on the amount of food they get.

Flea Pupae
Flea Pupae – Photograph by University of Florida. (source)

Flea Pupa: after the flea larva is well-developed, it will attach itself to something and will transform into a cocoon. In the pupa stage, the flea will become inactive and will start to morph into an adult flea.

The pupa stage can last from 1 to 2 weeks, before hatching.

Adult Flea
Adult Flea

Adult Flea: after the pupa hatches, the adult flea is ready to feed and reproduce. The adult flea will find a host immediate after coming out from the cocoon. If the flea can’t find any food in a few days, it will die.

The female flea can start laying eggs after her first meal. She can lay up to 50 eggs at a time over a 3 months period. During her lifetime, she can lay up to 4,500 eggs.

After the female flea lays the eggs, the whole process starts again.

How Long it Takes to Break the Flea Life Cycle?

The life cycle of fleas is about 5 to 6 months, depending on environmental parameters. But don’t worry; it won’t take you 6 months to completely get rid of fleas.

To break the life cycle of fleas, you need to know when they are the most vulnerable.

When are fleas the most vulnerable?

The egg shell will protect the flea larvae from most chemicals. In the pupa stage fleas are also very well protected by the cocoon.

Fleas are highly vulnerable in the larvae stage. Adults can still jump off and on the host, therefore some chemicals or remedies will not be able to kill them all.

However, larvae are very sensitive to chemicals and are really dependent on the adults. Larvae feed on droppings of adult fleas, so if you manage to minimize the number of adult with various methods, the larvae will quickly die and there will be no resupply of new fleas.

If you manage to kill off all larvae and there are no more new eggs, you still need to still do something about the cocoons. In this stage, you can’t do anything about them.

However, when they hatch into adult fleas, you can easily kill them off with various fleas control methods, until all cocoons are hatched.

How to Prevent and Get Rid of Fleas?

Killing off fleas is pretty easy if you know about their reproduction and life cycle. Now that you know how to break the lifecycle of fleas, you will be at a great advantage. In this article I will not go into details on how to kill off or prevent fleas, because I’ve wrote about it in details in my other posts.

In my following articles you can read about various methods to get rid of fleas:


So, it takes about 2 to 3 weeks to completely break the life cycle of fleas and get rid of all. In this time you need to vacuum your home and use the treatment as advised.

Be very persistent and patient, because even a small mistake or skip on treatment can start the fleas chain reaction again.

I really hope, that this article was useful for you. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

I reply to all comments and try to help as many people as possible.

Updated: December 19, 2019

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