What do Fleas Eat?
Fleas are pests that we all want to get rid of. They make life uncomfortable, not just for us, but for our pets. Their parasitic mode of operation makes them unwelcome guests in our territory. Sadly, that’s the only thing most people know about fleas. What do they look like? What do fleas eat? How do they survive?
Being able to answer these questions will help in your quest to get rid of these insects. Having some knowledge about these insects is essential if you’re to eliminate them completely.
Have you been suffering from flea infestation? Are you suspecting that there are fleas in your environment, but you’re not sure? Is this your first time dealing with fleas? If yes, then there are a few things you need to understand about these insects, chief of them being how they feed and what they feed on.
What do Fleas Eat?
Fleas feed basically on blood. It can be said of the insects that blood is their primary source of food. This is the main reason why fleas are common to cats, dogs, and humans too. Fleas, with their mandibles, pierce through the flesh to suck blood. This piercing is the main reason why your dog has been scratching itself more often in recent times (have you noticed?)
They do this for a long period by attaching themselves to the skin of their host. There’s not much information about the feeding habits of male fleas. For the females, however, they’ve been recorded to feed on as much as 15 times their size, daily. Taking in this high volume of blood is required to sustain their reproduction process.
Female fleas require a blood meal before every egg deposit. To actively reproduce, female fleas must feed continually to keep up the metabolism required for egg production. Failure to do this can lead to the death of these fleas in 24 hours or less.
A female flea lay between 35 – 40 eggs per day. These eggs usually turn into larvae over time. From larvae, they become adult fleas and continue the feeding process of sucking blood.
Fleas don’t just appear from out of the blue. You won’t just find them hiding in the floor cracks or underneath the bedding of your apartment. There’s a process through which they find their hosts.
Any flea you find in your apartment or on your pet started out as a flea in the bush/park/your immediate environment. While you or your pets don’t go searching for fleas, fleas know how to find you. There are fleas everywhere, waiting for the right time to pounce on a new host and change their diet.
Using their legs – with which they can jump up to 150 times their length – they can hop onto a new host and start a new feeding process. Nonetheless, this is not to say they only survive on blood.
Fleas that have yet to find a host live in the environment, on the sidewalks, or underneath fallen leaves in the park, feeding on debris. They can easily use this as a substitute while they wait for a host to come along.
Fleas range between 1 -4 mm in size. Just in case you’re searching for them, they’re reddish-brown in color and have their legs as one of the longest parts of their bodies. They are also pretty much wingless insects, using their legs instead to initiate movement.
These wingless insects, while they feed on blood and debris, can also go for days without eating anything at all. They can hide in dark places for days (they hate light) without coming out to feed.
This is one of the reasons why it may be very difficult to find them. Asides hiding in the furs of your pets, they can also spend days in hiding, without making any attempt to come out.
It’s okay to leave everything about the pests in your apartment and on your pets to the pest exterminators. Since they’re professionals, they’re in the best position to help out with eliminating them.
However, you also need to understand what they are, what they look like and how they operate. This will help you to deal with them more efficiently. With this post answering your question on what do fleas eat, you now know better where to find them, how to deal with them and most importantly, how to avoid them.