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Flea
(Extension, Purdue University)
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Common Name: Flea

Order: Siphonaptera

Family: Pulicidae


Pest Status: Fleas are external parasites on vertebrates. The cat flea is a particularly annoying pest of dogs and cats.

Appearance: Fleas are small (1/16-inch long), agile, dark- colored, wingless insects with tube-like mouthparts that are adapted to feeding on the blood of hosts. Their bodies are laterally compressed, and they have long legs that are well-adapted for jumping.

Life Cycle: After a blood meal, females lay their eggs in the hair coat of a host. The eggs fall from the hair and hatch in a few days. The larvae take a few weeks to develop; they hide in floor cracks, under rug edges, and in furniture. The pupae mature to adulthood in a silken cocoon in about two weeks.

Where to Collect: Fleas may be found on pets throughout the year, but numbers increase dramatically during spring and early summer.