The adult fleas are about 1/16 to 1/8-inch long, dark reddish-brown, wingless, hard-bodied (difficult to crush between fingers), have three pairs of legs (hind legs enlarged enabling jumping) and are flattened vertically or side to side (bluegill or sunfish-like) allowing easy movement between the hair, fur or feathers of the host. Fleas are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up to seven inches and horizontally thirteen inches.
Eggs are smooth, oval and white. Larvae are 1/4-inch long, slender, straw-colored, brown headed, wormlike, bristly-haired creatures (13 body segments), that are legless, have chewing mouthparts, are active, and avoid light. Pupae are enclosed in silken cocoons covered with particles of debris.
Normally after a blood meal, the female flea lays about 15 to 20 eggs per day up to 600 in a lifetime usually on the host. Eggs loosely laid in the hair coat, drop out most anywhere especially where the host rests, sleeps or nests (rugs, carpets, upholstered furniture, cat or dog boxes, kennels, sand boxes, etc.). Eggs hatch in two days to two weeks into larvae found indoors in floor cracks & crevices, along baseboards, under rug edges and in furniture or beds.
Before treatment, discuss the pet's habits with family members to determine where resting and sleeping occurs most frequently. Flea activity "hot spots" can be detected by placing white socks over shoes and walking through the residence into suspected areas.
Flea control is best achieved with a simultaneous, coordinated effort involving strict sanitation, pet treatment and premise treatment.