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The 6 Most Important Flea Larval Facts

 by james on 16 Dec 2022 |
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The 6 Most Important Flea Larval Facts 
 
The medical director of the VCA Murphy Road Animal Hospital in Nashville and the incoming president of the Companion Animal Parasite Council, Dr. Craig Prior, states that for every flea you see on a dog or cat, there are nine more hiding in the surroundings that you are not seeing.
 
Prior is the worst adversary of many pet parents, and I wish I had met him years ago. One summer, I had fleas on both of my cats, and after treating the adult fleas on them with a flea bath, I believed the issue had been resolved. The remaining uninvited guests in the house, including the flea larvae and eggs that were secretly forming and preparing to eat my dogs, caught me completely off guard (and my legs). Perhaps you treated the adult fleas you could see and were unaware of their larvae, making the same error.
 
What precisely are flea larvae and how are they managed? Let's learn more about these tiny creatures.
 
 
The eggs that adult female fleas lay on their victims eventually develop into flea larvae. They don't stay there; instead, they scatter as the host goes about the house. According to Prior, the eggs resemble "tiny ping pong balls." The eggs wind up in regions where the host spends a lot of time, and it's here that the larvae hatch and develop. "The pet gets up, stretches and shakes, and the eggs just fly off into the environment - often where that creature is sleeping or has been sleeping."
 
The larvae spend one to two weeks developing and feeding on organic waste and flea "dirt," which is the dried excrement of adult fleas, which is really just dried blood. The larvae make up roughly one-third of the flea population in a home. The larvae will then spin cocoons, transition into their pupal stage, and eventually emerge as adults. Flea pupae can survive for a long time while nestled in this protective cocoon, only emerging when prompted by indicators of a suitable host. When a person moves into a previously occupied home or apartment, it is not unusual for them to have to fight off fleas that have been latent for several months.
 
Different methods and procedures are needed to control larvae that are lurking about the house compared to how fleas are killed as adults. According to Prior, one of the finest things you can do is fully vacuum, picking up eggs and larvae on floors and pet beds with a beater bar attachment. One important step in this process is to remove the gathered eggs and larvae out of the house as well as seal and discard the vacuum bag or empty out the dirt cup on a bagless vacuum when you're through. If you don't, Prior warns, "you have a reservoir of infection in that vacuum cleaner bag."Following that, a variety of flea treatment tools, including sprays and foggers, can get rid of any larvae and eggs that the vacuuming may have missed. Prior advises that the greatest source for avoiding fleas is your veterinarian because not all of these products are created equally. They are able to advise you on the best and safest things to use in your home because they are familiar with you, your pet, your way of life, and the surrounding environment. Due to the fact that pupae currently present continue to mature into adults, it can take up to two months before you start to notice progress.
 
You must also avoid reinfestation after getting rid of the adult fleas on your pet and controlling the eggs, larvae, and pupae in the home. Because there are so many additional flea hosts outside and presumably close to your home, this may be challenging. According to Prior, the same fleas that afflict dogs and cats also live on coyotes, foxes, bobcats, cattle, skunks, raccoons, possums, rats, ferrets, and other animals in North America. You should attempt to make the environment around your home an unwelcoming location for wild or stray animals and the fleas they might be carrying, and keeping your pets indoors as much as possible is a smart place to start.
 
Keep in mind that flea larvae like enclosed, dark spaces. Keeping animals out and preventing them from infecting these locations with flea eggs can be accomplished by sealing up crawl spaces, attics, and areas under decks and porches. Of all, there are limits to how much you can influence what occurs outside. Any fleas that do decide to scurry onto your pet will be killed if you keep them on lifelong flea prevention.
 

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