- Author: Chris M. Webb
There are several types of fleas found in California. Some are more common than others.
Cat fleas, Ctenocephalides felis, are the fleas most commonly found on domestic cats and dogs. Female cat fleas can lay about 20 to 50 eggs per day. The eggs are laid on the pet and easily fall off and land on bedding, carpets and other surfaces. The eggs hatch in approximately 2 to 5 days.
Once hatched the larvae feed and develop for about 8 to 15 days before building cocoons in which they pupate and develop into adults. A relative humidity level of at least 75% is necessary for their development. The larvae develop more quickly at higher temperatures and prefer temperatures of 70 (add degree symbol) to 90 (add degree symbol) F. If temperatures are too cool, fully formed fleas can remain in their cocoons for up to a year.
Cat fleabites can cause minor irritation to severe reactions to pets and people. In addition to skin irritation, cat fleas serve as intermediary hosts of dog and cat tapeworms. These common fleas may also be capable of transmitting a murinelike typhus disease in humans, cat flea rickettsiosis. The symptoms are similar to murine typhus but less severe, including headaches, chills, fever, vomiting, and rash.
To learn more about these pests and how to best manage them, please see UC ANR’s publication, Fleas: Pests of Homes, Structures, People, and Pets.