Fleas have a complex life cycle. Their larvae feed on decaying organic matter before pupating into adult fleas. They can survive for up to three months without food and can lay hundreds of eggs in one lifetime. Fleas are carried indoors by pets and rodents and can also live on your furniture and bedding. Fleas reproduce best in warm, humid conditions, which is why fleas thrive in the summer.
Fleas can breed in the same building as their hosts, or they can migrate from another location. They tend to live in the basements of buildings, or near entrances. Flea eggs fall over carpets, furniture, or floor cracks. Fleas have spines throughout their bodies, and their heads are covered with bristles and jagged combs. Flea larvae will develop in dark, secluded areas, such as crevices. Flea pupae will spend most of their time on animals with fur.
Flea larvae are translucent white in color and range in size from three to 5.2 mm. Flea larvae feed by sensing body heat and movement caused by breathing. Flea larvae will molt twice during their life cycle. The larvae will spend up to 18 days in the larval stage before entering the pupal stage, which lasts about three days.
Fleas have six legs, four segments of the body (the head, thorax, abdomen) and a special sensory organ called the pygidium, located in the rear of the abdomen. The pygidium detects small fluctuations in air and warns the flea of possible danger. The female flea has an egg and oviduct, while males have a spermatheca and a sex claw.