Actual Size: 1/16 to 1/8-inch long

Characteristics: Fleas are very small, dark-colored, and wingless insects.


  • The adult flea must feed on blood to produce eggs, laying about 450 during their lifetime.
  • Their eggs fall off of nested pets and onto pet bedding, couches, or carpeting.
  • These eggs develop into maggot-like larvae, which feed on the dried blood of the pets at the base of the carpet fibers.
  • The length of the chemical-resistant pupae stage is variable, ranging from 1 day to 1 year depending on pressure, carbon dioxide, and warmth.

Fleas in SE Louisiana and Mississippi

Fleas are small, wingless blood-sucking parasites that live on the exterior of their host. Adults feed only on the blood of warm-blooded hosts, which they must obtain in order to survive and reproduce. Fleas are the most common ectoparasites found on cats and dogs, so they frequently turn up as household pests. Fleas are annoying to people and pets, especially during spring and early summer when their numbers tend to increase dramatically. 

Habitat of Fleas

Fleas thrive in many climates but prefer moist, humid, and shady areas. The area underneath a porch or deck can turn into an overwintering site. Areas with tall grass, leaf litter, weeds, wood piles, gravelly areas, and sandy patches are all attractive to fleas. Even the tiniest crack in concrete can harbor fleas and they especially shrubs, leaves, and trees, but do not fare well in sunny areas or open grass. Fleas usually enter structures attached to pets, and they can quickly find refuge in homes. Flea larvae do not like the light so carpets, bedding, pet beds, and upholstered furniture make cozy homes for fleas, flea eggs, and flea larvae.

Behaviors of Fleas

These flightless insects feed mainly on non-human animals but may bite and infect humans. Bites from fleas look like small red dots and may occur in two or three groups or clusters around feet, ankles, and legs. Though they may trigger allergic reactions, flea bites will not often have a serious impact on a person’s health. However, when bitten, some people and pets suffer from flea allergic dermatitis, characterized by intense itching, hair loss, reddening of the skin, and secondary infection. One flea bite can initiate an allergic reaction, and itching can persist for up to five days after the bite.

If you are dealing with a flea infestation, contact your local flea exterminators for help.