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Although there are over 2500 different species of flea, the most common in domestic properties is the cat flea, Ctenoephalides felis. Other species which may be encountered are the dog, human, bird, rabbit and mole fleas.
Fleas are small insects, rabbit fleas are about 1mm whereas cat fleas can be 6mm. They vary in colour from light brown to black although most fleas in domestic properties are reddish brown.
They are narrow which makes it easy for them to travel through hairs and do not have wings. Their last pair of legs is modified for jumping. They have numerous spines and hairs on their body, and their mouthparts are adapted for piercing the skin and sucking blood.

The life cycle of a flea consists of four stages: the egg, the larva, the pupa, and the adult. Eggs are deposited either on the pet, in the pet’s bedding, or in cracks and crevices of floors.

In about a week, the eggs hatch into immature fleas called larvae. Flea larvae are very different from adult fleas. They are wormlike, lack legs, and do not feed on fresh blood, but live on organic matter, including dried particles of blood and excrement voided by the adult fleas.
In about 12 days, the larvae are fully grown and change to the pupal stage which can remain dormant for up to 8 months until stimulated to emerge for a feed they will then change into the adult flea. Adults feed more than once a day on fresh animal blood. They may live as long as a year and in some cases, even longer.

Flea bites on humans are generally most prevalent on the ankles and lower portion of the legs.

 Up to 50% of skin disease in pets is caused by an allergic reaction to flea bites. They are capable of spreading diseases, the most well known instance of this is the Bubonic plague, caused by fleas which carry the bacteria from infected rats.