How Long Do Fleas Live?

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Fleas are small, brownish parasitic pests that live by sucking the blood of their hosts. How long do fleas live? They can pose huge problems to pets and humans and cause various health problems.

Many studies show that there are approximately 2,000 different species of fleas, and they can infest any warm-blooded animal, including dogs, cats, horses, and people.

Fleas are small, parasitic insects found on the bodies of cats and dogs. They are most commonly known for their role in transmitting the plague but can also cause other health problems. 

Flea infestations are treated through various means, including medications and pesticides. Fleas can live on their hosts for up to 3 months. It means they can infest a host multiple times and continue to thrive.

They can also jump long distances to spread quickly from one host to another. It is also known as Ctenocephalides canis. Taking the prevention mode for fleas is very important.

Continue reading to learn more about how long fleas live in this guide. 

Flea life cycle

In the life cycle of fleas, there are four stages: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults.

Stage 1: Eggs

how long do fleas live

Fleas lay eggs on their host. These eggs are easily dislodged when the host moves, which means they can spread quickly. The eggs hatch into larvae, which then turn into pupae.

The pupae eventually turn into adult fleas. Interestingly, flea eggs make up 50-54% of a flea infestation. They are oval-shaped and have a smooth surface.

Stage 2: Larvae


Larvae are the second stage in the life cycle of a flea. It is known as larvae in the singular. Larvae are small, have a maggot-like appearance, and are pale or translucent in color. 

Larvae are tiny, measuring only 2mm when they reach full development. They prefer dark conditions and feed on skin shedding, feces of adult fleas, other animal waste, dead skin cells, and even animal fur and hair.

Flea larvae make up around 35-37% of the flea population. The larvae stage can last anywhere from 2 to 14 days, depending on environmental conditions.

The larva will go through three molts during this time before becoming a pupa. They hatch from small white eggs and feed on the organic matter until they reach adulthood.

Stage 3: Pupae


The pupae stage is the third stage in a flea’s life cycle. The flea is encased in a protective shell that makes it difficult to exterminate in this stage.

The shell helps the flea protect itself from harsh environmental conditions and also helps it evade detection by predators.

The pupae stage is responsible for about 8-10% of the total flea population in the flea life cycle. This particular stage can last anywhere from 5 to 14 days, but it can sometimes last up to a year. As a result, it’s important to consider when getting rid of fleas.

Stage 4: Adults

Stage 4: Adults

Adult fleas are the final stage of the flea life cycle. They live off of blood and require external signals to emerge from their cocoon. Once they have emerged, they can jump onto a host and start feeding immediately.

Adult fleas can remain in their cocoon for up to 5 months. B will eventually die if they do not find a host within that time frame.

Adult female fleas start laying eggs within 36-48 hours of feeding on blood for the first time. Fleas typically live between 60 and 100 days, but they can live up to a year under ideal conditions.

In general, only 5% of the flea population comprises adult fleas. That means there are about 20,000 female adults per every 1 million fleas.

How long do fleas live?

Ctenocephalides felis, cat flea or flea, isolated on a white background

Fleas are a common and very irritating problem for both pets and humans. They can spread disease, be very irritating, and be difficult to remove.

The lifespan of a flea is difficult to answer definitively because they can live without limit. However, it is best not to delay treatment for a flea problem.

Fleas have a three-stage life cycle: egg, larva, and pupa. The pupae stage is the longest, lasting from one day to an entire year. Interestingly, carbon dioxide can affect how long the pupae stage lasts.

The cat flea is the most common type of household flea. Adult fleas can live for just a few days, but they can live longer if they are not eliminated.

How fast do fleas reproduce?

Fleas have several life stages, each with different durations. Adult fleas only live for around 2-3 months, but they can lay up to 50 eggs per day. The flea eggs hatch within two days, and the flea larvae will feed on the organic matter until they develop into pupae.

Pupae can remain dormant for weeks or even months before emerging as adults.

Can fleas live without a host?

Fleas are parasites that require blood to survive. They get their nutrients and sustenance from the blood they consume.

Fleas in earlier stages of development will not die without a host’s blood, but adult fleas will perish if separated from their host.

How Long Do Fleas Live With a Host?

Fleas are tiny black or brown parasitic insects that live off the blood of their host. They can be found on various animals, including dogs, cats, and humans. Adult fleas generally live for 2-3 months with regular access to a host.

However, their life span also depends on other external conditions, such as humidity and temperature. 85% relative humidity and 85 degrees F are the optimal conditions for fleas to thrive.

How long can a flea live without a host?

How long can a flea live without a host?

Fleas can live without a host for an extended period. Newly hatched flea larvae do not immediately feed on the blood of a host but rather consume organic debris like floors, carpets, and around the home. Once they have grown, they will then feed on the blood of a host.

When a flea is off its host, it will usually look for a dark, protected place to hide. It can be in the form of a cocoon where the flea will lay dormant until it senses a potential host. Fleas can also survive without a blood meal by drinking water for an extended time.

To prevent an infestation, it’s important to have preventive and proactive flea control measures in place. Even after all adult fleas are eliminated, eggs can still hatch and lead to a new infestation.

How long does it take flea eggs to hatch?

Flea eggs hatch within 2 to 3 days after being deposited. If they do not hatch within two weeks, they will die. Extreme dryness or cold weather can kill the eggs and prevent hatching.

How long can fleas live on furniture?

Fleas can live on furniture for a relatively long time. Pets are the perfect place for flea eggs or larvae to hatch and grow, as they provide plenty of blood for the parasites to feed on.

Adult fleas will only stay outside of their cocoons for a moment, but it’s enough time to get on furniture and start the infestation cycle anew.

Fleas can live on furniture for a significant amount of time, as they can lay eggs on the couch, carpet, chair, and bed.

These eggs will turn into larvae if they sense thermal changes in the air. The larvae will only emerge from their cocoons if they sense a potential host nearby.

How long will fleas live in a house without pets?

Fleas are parasites that need to feed on blood to survive. They will wait until they can jump onto a passing animal, and once aboard, they will remain dislodged or groomed by the animal.

Adult fleas are known to only live for a few days to 2 weeks without a host.

How long do fleas live without food?

Fleas have been observed to go up to 100 days without eating. They won’t be able to lay eggs until they’ve had their first blood meal.

Female fleas can’t lay eggs until they’ve had their first blood meal, and they start laying eggs 36-48 hours afterward.

How long do fleas live without blood?

Fleas can turn into a dormant-like state that helps them survive for long periods without feeding. They can live up to 155 days without blood, but they will die within one week if they haven’t been fed.

Young fleas that have not yet been fed can survive slightly longer, around one week.

Can fleas live without animals?

Fleas are pests that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. They can survive without a host for a very short period, but they will typically not live on human skin. Fleas will consider you the next best thing to feast on if they make their way into your home.

Fleas are tough to get rid of. So it’s crucial to take precautions to keep them out of your house in the first place.

How long can fleas live on carpet?

Fleas can live on various surfaces, but they typically reside on the animal itself. If you are trying to eliminate fleas, treating both the animals and the environment is important. Vacuuming is one way to remove eggs, larvae, and pupae from the carpet.

It is important to close up the vacuum bag and discard it outdoors so that the fleas do not have a chance to re-infest. Additionally, pest control products can help reduce or eliminate fleas from your environment.

Can a cat flea live on humans?

Can a cat flea live on humans?

Cat fleas are another most common type of flea that do not reside in humans. However, they can still feed on human blood if the opportunity arises.

It often happens when people are in close contact with cats that have fleas. If you are being bitten by something and it itches, there is a good chance you have a flea issue.

Do fleas stay on humans?

Fleas do not live on humans. They generally bite down at the feet, ankles, and legs. It is because those are typically the areas that are closest to the ground and have the most amount of blood flow.

Signs of a Flea Infestation

Signs of a Flea Infestation

Fleas are tiny, parasitic insects that can be barely visible to humans. They often live on and feed off of warm-blooded animals, such as cats, dogs, and even humans. Signs of some common flea infestation can include:

  • Find the pests on your pet’s fur (they often look like dots or black pepper sprinkled on your pet’s fur).
  • Seeing them jump.
  • Noticing their feces (which looks like black dirt).
  • Finding bites on your skin.

Fleas can also transmit diseases to both pets and people. Fleas can be a major nuisance, but there are signs you can look for to see if you have an infestation. If you find that you have fleas, start by using a fine-toothed comb to inspect your pet and home for the pests.

Additionally, look for red, itchy bumps on the bite area, a common sign of flea infestation. Some people are also allergic to the coagulant that fleas inject into your body when they bite, so that you may experience other symptoms such as swelling and blistering.

Other symptoms of flea infestation can include wheezing or shortness of breath, intense itching, severe hives or rashes around the body, and swelling of the face, lips, mouth, and hands.

Finally, black or brown flakes on the bedding could be flea feces. Flea feces are one of the clearest signs of flea infestation. The reddish-brown color is caused by blood, so if you see this on your tissue when you get it, you can be sure that there are fleas in your environment.

How to get rid of fleas?

Treat your pets

Fleas can create many unnecessary problems for pet owners. If you have pets and suspect they have fleas, the first thing to do is treat your furry friends. Various oral and topical remedies are available over the counter or through your veterinarian.

It would be better for your pet to talk with your vet if oral and topical remedies are better than collars. Another option is to use quality shampoo to start, then comb through fur and dunk it in soapy water.


Vacuuming is an essential step in getting rid of fleas. Make sure to clean every house surface, especially those with crevices.

The bag should be disposed of as soon as possible. It would help that the fleas do not have a chance to escape and re-infest your home.

Heat and Soap

The most effective flea killing method is using a steam cleaner, as the high temperature will kill them.

You can also wash all your bedding in hot water to kill any fleas, including your pet’s bed. And finally, exposing them to extreme heat or soap will kill them at all stages.

Clean Yard

The first is to keep the lawn mowed and free of weeds and unruly bushes. Fleas don’t like light, so that they will hide in the shade. You can also sprinkle cedar chips around pets’ resting places to help deter them.

Empty House

Fleas can live in the pupal stage for months, so it is important to treat an infestation immediately. To ensure that the treatment reaches all fleas, it is important to ensure your home is empty of all moving boxes and other clutter.

Call Professional

Fleas are a huge problem for both cats and dogs, and they can be difficult to get rid of. In some cases, professional flea help is needed to address the infestation. Additionally, chemical treatments may be necessary to eradicate fleas.

Fast flea facts

Interestingly, fleas have been around for a very long time – about 100 million years! And their neighbors during that time were some pretty impressive creatures.

Like the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops! Fleas themselves haven’t changed much over the years, but the world around them sure has.

Fleas are very small creatures and can jump up to 150 times their length. Female fleas are not known to lay eggs until after their first blood meal. After sucking blood, they begin to lay eggs within 36-48 hours after that meal. In a lifetime, a flea will lay 2,000 eggs.

Fleas are very bloodthirsty creatures. They consume 15 times their body weight in blood every day.

In addition, flea larvae live on organic debris from the host animal’s environment. Until they are ready to become adult fleas. Lastly, if you see one flea, more than 100 offspring or adults are likely lurking nearby.


Fleas are a common pest and, depending on various factors, can live anywhere from a few days to a year. Some of the most important factors in determining how long a flea will live to include its environment, the food it consumes, and the species of flea.

Fleas live as a species and prefer to use hosts for transportation. However, the question of how long is a flea able to survive without a host? Hope you got your answer to this post. 

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.