Adult fleas are shiny brown in colour, 2-3mm in length with a thin laterally flattened body and large hind legs which allow them to jump onto passing hosts, jumping vertically up to 15cms.
A female flea will lay up to 50 eggs a day, about 2,000 in her lifetime, which are white, oval and about 0.5mm in length.
Larvae thrive in dark humid places such as animal bedding, carpet fluff and skirting boards and feed on cast skin and the blood-rich faeces of the adult flea.
Whilst growing, the larvae will spin a silken cocoon before forming into pupae. When fully grown, the adult will wait and only emerge when it detects vibrations caused by a potential host. Once the flea hops onto the host, the adults mate and begin the life-cycle all over again.
The complete metamorphosis from egg to adult can take up to 2 years depending on the temperature and food sources available.
A flea bite can cause intense irritation centred around a bright red spot.