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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Outdoor Survival and Development of Cat Fleas (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae) in Florida

Authors
item Kern, William - RETIRED
item Richman, Dina
item Koehler, Philip - UNIV OF FLORIDA
item Brenner, Richard

Submitted to: Journal of Medical Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 19, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Scientists at the USDA-ARS, Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology and the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, investigated how north-central Florida climate affects cat flea larval survival and development outdoors throughout the year. Flea larval survival was greatest in the fall, from September to November, when both temperatures and relative humidities were moderate. Their development times were shortest in June and July due to the warmer temperatures, but their survival rate was low in areas exposed to direct sunlight. From January to March, flea larval mortality was highest and development times the longest. This was due to low temperatures and very low relative humidities associated with the passage of cold fronts during this time of year. Flea larvae survived light frosts in protected microhabitats such as inside a doghouse and under a mobile home. Based upon these findings, application of an insect growth regulator to outdoor premises for control of cat fleas should occur during the end of August and/or the end of May and should be concentrated on shaded and/or otherwise protected areas where flea larvae are likely to complete their development.

Technical Abstract: In north-central Florida, cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis felis Bouch¿) larvae survived outdoors year round. Their survival was greatest (up to 84.6%) outdoors in the fall, from September to November, when both temperatures and relative humidities were moderate. Development times for flea larvae were shortest (20-24 d) in June and July. From January to March, flea larval mortality was highest (91.7 to 100%) and development times the longest (36 to 50 d) outdoors. This was due to low temperatures and very low relative humidities associated with the passage of cold fronts during this time of year. Flea larvae survived light frosts in protected microhabitats such as inside a doghouse and under a mobile home.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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