Adults are about 1/8″ (2.5 mm) long. The body is laterally flattened (side to side) and are wingless. Color brownish black to black, but reddish black when full of blood. Short three segmented antennae; long legs with large femur. Mouthparts apre piercing-sucking with well developed palps. Mature larva about twice the adult length. Larva whitish, slender, eyeless and legless with a well developed head. Moderately long, backward projecting hairs encircling each segment.
Places Most Commonly Found:
Female lays 4-8 eggs after each blood meal, laying some 400 – 500 eggs during their lifetime. Eggs are not glued/stuck to the body but are deposited on or between hairs or in the nest or bedding material. Eggs deposited on animals either all off or are shaken off, and are frequently found in cracks and crevices near where pets sleep or frequent. Eggs are oval, whitish and usually hatch in 1-12 days. Larva move about and require relative high humidity (45% – 95%) to develop. Last instar larva spin a cocoon and incorporate surrounding debris on its surface which provides camouflage. Fleas are typically found where animals frequent because this is where eggs and adult fecal material develops. Most larvae will be found in similar places but especially in areas of high moisture content.
Most Active Period:
Many vacationers who may be unaware of the few adult fleas present, are often greeted and severely attacked by fleas upon their return and seek a cat flea remedy as quickly as possible. This can occur even if the building has been vacant of animals for as long as 6 months. This situation occurs because of the potentially long pupal stage, adults can live for months without food, and because fleas have not been removed by normal vacuuming. Fleas require high humidity and are rarely active outdoors in arid climates. Larvae fail to develop at temperatures below 55 F (13 C) and at or above 95 F (35 C).
Difficulty of Control:
Killing cat fleas is moderate to control. Multiple applications are often necessary and treatment of pets and proper cleaning is vital to eliminating the problem.