How Fleas and Ticks Survive the Winter

Think fleas and ticks are just a warm weather hazard? Though not as prolific in winter, external parasites pose a risk to you and your pet’s health in all seasons.

Find out why our flea and tick prevention collars must be a year-round priority for the health and safety of your pet.

Adult fleas emerge from cocoons called pupae when stimulated by vibration, pressure, or carbon dioxide emitted from breath, and when temperatures can sustain their survival.

Fleas thrive around 75 degrees F, and it’s around this temperature when they complete their entire life cycle within just a few weeks. They can stay within the cocoon up to 30 weeks at 51.8 degrees F.”

Fleas don’t travel from place to place in search of a host. They’re opportunists who find a host, then hold on as long as possible. To snag a host, fleas face a light source and hop onto a dog or cat (or human, for that matter) when when they sense a shadow. After biting the host, female fleas will continue to feed on blood (unless something disturbs them), mate, and start laying eggs within 24 to 36 hours.

One female can lay up to 50 eggs per day for more than three months. These eggs are laid on the pet, then fall off into the environment, accumulating in the largest numbers wherever the infested pet spends the most time, such as bedding or on furniture.

Flea larvae, which resemble maggots, hatch and feed on semi-digested blood present in adult flea feces, then form a cocoon and pupate in the environment. Within the cocoon, the flea larva undergoes metamorphosis and eventually emerges from the cocoon as an adult flea.

The tick’s life cycle typically lasts two or three years. The most common ticks found on cats and dogs (referred to as three-host ticks) find a new host for each life stage.

After the female mates and feeds on her host, she drops into the environment to lay a clutch of several thousand eggs, then dies. Once larval stage ticks – called six-legged larval stage ticks or seed ticks – hatch, they engage in questing behavior, where they climb onto nearby grass or vegetation, hold on their back legs, wait with their front legs in the air, and then grab onto an unsuspecting host. Once attached to a host, ticks then feed for several days.

Once fully engorged with blood, larval ticks drop off the host into the environment, eventually molting to their next life stage, the eight-legged nymph.

Nymphs once again climb up onto grass or low vegetation, and wait for a second host to grab onto. Once on this second host, the nymph attaches and feeds for several days. Once fully fed, the nymph drops off the host into the environment and eventually molts to the eight-legged adult stage.

When they become adults, ticks again climb onto grass or low vegetation and wait for a third host. “Adult female ticks attach and feed. Male ticks may also feed, but also search for female ticks to mate.

Some species of ticks mate while on the host, others can mate in the environment. After feeding and mating, female ticks drop off this third host and lay a clutch of eggs in the environment.

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Raw Baltic Amber collars, natural protection against ticks and flea for your dog or cat.

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