How Long Fleas Live Without a Host. Fleas are parasitic pests that literally depend on a host’s blood to stay alive. To draw a picture of how much a flea needs a host, did you know that a flea will consume 15 times her body weight in blood every single day? These little insects are therefore ‘high maintenance’. Fleas invade and colonize hosts who have fluffy thick fur. This moist environment enables the fleas to hide and embed comfortably. However, it is detrimental for fleas to live without a host. How long they will survive without a suitable host will depend on several factors. This article seeks to dissect some of the facts in this respect.
How Long Fleas Live Without a Host?
- 1 How Long Fleas Live Without a Host?
- 2 How fleas feed on their host’s blood
- 3 Tips to keep fleas at bay
How long a flea will live without a host will depend on the life stage an individual flea is at. In general, fleas will starve to death after four days of being without a host. However, for fleas that have just emerged from their cocoon and haven’t fed, they have the ability to live longer. Fleas that have not had any meal will be able to survive for up to 7 days. There are fleas that may still be in their cocoons and when they lose a host, they can go into a dormant state referred to as quiescence. If the temperatures outside the cocoon are favorable enough, the fleas can live without a host for up to 5 months.
This dormant period for fleas occurs after pupating. One of the main reasons why they are able to survive for so long is their slowed metabolic activity. This ensures that food is not very necessary. It is worth noting however, that upon detection of a suitable host, the quiescence period will end very fast. To be more specific, these dormant fleas can live for about 155 days without feeding or without a host. The reason why unfed fleas that have emerged are able to live longer is the suitable temperatures. They love relative humidity and can even live up to 12 days. The unfed fleas have not yet become dependent on blood and this is a good reason why they survive longer. Humid conditions are uncommon whether in homes or other natural environments. To this end, only a few unfed fleas will be able to survive.
How fleas feed on their host’s blood
To understand how long fleas live without a host, it is critical to consider how they feed. Immediately after acquiring a host, fleas will get right to it and start feeding. They are so dedicated to the feeding process that within 24 hours, the unfed fleas will double in weight. The soluble protein content in their bodies will also triple. However, when the fleas are removed from their host at this point, it will only take them 12 hours to lose the gained weight and the protein mass. To this end, every 12 hours is important for fleas to fed so that they can retain their health and well being.
The more a flea feeds on the host, the more they become dependent. This dependency will see many fleas starve to death faster when their supply is not available or cut off. However, fleas that do not overfeed or reach dependency stage will tend to live longer. 12 hours of feeding and no more is the interval that will see fleas escape dependency; in this regard, these fleas will be in a position to live for 14 days without a host.
Some fleas need more blood than others to function better. In light of this, removing fleas that need more blood from the host will kill them faster. A case in point is female fleas. For reproductive vibrancy, females will need a lot of blood. In fact, before they deposit eggs, they must have a blood meal first. Continuous feeding is therefore pivotal for egg production. Removing these nesting females from the host can spell death in as little as 24 hours. Fleas need blood from the host to mate and reproduce; this makes them anautogenous.
Tips to keep fleas at bay
95% of all fleas live as eggs which could refer to the larvae or pupae stages. This is to say that only 5% of adult fleas live in the environment. To this end, fleas will survive through their life cycle to give rise to new fleas. This is one of the reasons why getting rid of fleas effectively can be hard. Therefore, if you find adult fleas and get rid of them, you will not have eradicated the problem completely. Those facing a flea infestation will need to tackle the problem from the root.
When thinking about flea control, you must employ preventive measures first. Also, consider the eggs that have been deposited in various locations in your home. Even if fleas will not live very long without a host, not removing their eggs will be detrimental. Furniture, crevices, cracks, corners and carpets are the best hiding places for flea eggs. Make sure to vacuum and clean out your entire home if you have a flea problem. Look for effective sprays for your pets. There are powders and special shampoos that can be used to eliminate and prevent fleas.
Keep in mind that it is only adult fleas that are able to suck the blood of a host. In their larvae state, fleas will only consume the body waste or debris from the host. This could include dead skin cells among others. This will make the flea eggs last even longer whether on a host or not. It is not encouraging to learn that a well fed adult female flea will lay up to 50 eggs every single day. In its lifetime, the flea can lay up to 2,000 eggs.
To be on a safe side, always prevent fleas from invading your home; it is much easier to prevent compared to eliminating. Flea prevention should therefore be a continual task. The more the pets you have, the more the hosts you have available for fleas. Be sure to check your pets for fleas often; better yet, observing prevention will save you money and heartache.Recent additions