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The Geography of Fleas

Pesky fleas are hiding throughout the world, with the most common flea being the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, found around the United States. Although it’s called the cat flea, it isn’t restricted to cats.

Fleas, like us, have preferred places where they like to live. They like warm and humid conditions so with temperatures rising, the threat of fleas becomes more prominent. Flea eggs and larvae optimally need about 50 percent humidity to survive. They prefer temperatures between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit; however, they can live in both slightly cooler and warmer temperatures. Whereas eggs and larvae freeze at 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can imagine that fleas are more likely to live in places where it’s moist and warm throughout the year, like the West Coast and Southeast regions. We’ve listed the top five states for dogs and cats to get fleas. Check to see if your state made it on the list.

Top 5 States for Dogs with Fleas

  1. Arkansas
  2. Florida
  3. South Carolina
  4. Alabama
  5. Oregon

Top 5 States for Cats with Fleas

  1. Oregon
  2. Washington
  3. Florida
  4. California
  5. Alabama

So, those are the most common, what about the least common? These are focused in the Semi-arid and Desert regions of the U.S. of the North, Midwest and Western states.

Bottom 5 States for Dogs with Fleas

  1. Utah
  2. Montana
  3. Nevada
  4. Arizona
  5. South Dakota

Bottom 5 States for Cats with Fleas

  1. Utah
  2. Colorado
  3. Nevada
  4. Montana
  5. South Dakota

Oftentimes, people report a bloom of fleas after rain and warm conditions. Those fleas will jump onto your pet and start making themselves at home in your house. In a house, temperatures, and humidity levels tend to be controlled and don’t fluctuate as much as the outdoors.

Fleas tend to stay on one pet, but their eggs fall off your pet into places such as carpets, furniture, and beds where pets normally sleep. Eggs and larvae then can live in those places. And during the pupae stage, fleas are pretty resistant to treatments. As adults make up a tiny fraction of the population, it can take up to 8 to 12 weeks to find and address the flea infestation in your home.

This is why in some instances prevention alone isn't enough. When the flea population becomes established in your home, they don't have to worry about conditions such as temperature and humidity fluctuations that can affect the egg and larval life stages. This is when area treatments, vacuuming, cleaning, and your treatments become critical for preventing flea infestations.

*States with no data include Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, Wyoming, West Virginia, Vermont, and Maine.