how fast can fleas reproduce?

I went to a friends house to feed her cats on Monday. On Wed I brought her home from the hospital and her cats are infested with fleas.  I have 2 cats of my own but they have Frontline monthly.  My friend thinks I gave her cats the fleas.  Can they reproduce in 2 days if one jumped on the cat? (Its winter here in Ohio)

If you read through our FLEA CONTROL ARTICLE, you’ll learn all the gory details of this persistent pest. In the article we explain that under ideal conditions, fleas can grow rapidly. When the right mix of temperature, moisture and food are present, fleas can go from egg to adult in as little as 7 days. But 2 days? Not likely.

But in our article we also point out that in general, fleas will almost always choose to live on a pet over a person. So if you had fleas on your person when you went to the house, it’s entirely possible some got off you and into your friends house. From there some would surely end up on her cats. But to the extent that the cats would become “infested” from your visits? That would be a tough level to reach in just two days.

Now if you carried over 1000+ fleas on your person when you were there Monday, it’s definitely possible a couple of hundred fell off you and into her home. But I’m guessing you normally don’t go about your business with a 1000+ fleas hitching a free ride as you go to work or run errands, correct? But what about 1-2 fleas? Is it possible that 1-2 or even 3-4 could hop on you at home and then hitch a ride around town with you without being noticed? Maybe. But even then only 1-2 would end up on her cats so in the end, it’s highly unlikely you could get them so thoroughly “infested” in just two days.

At this point you think you’re “off the hook”, right? Well, not that fast…

Of course, it’s also possible there was a massive hatching of flea pupae in the day or two your friend was at the hospital which has lead to the problem the cats are now facing.  In fact, this happens all the time in most every home that “gets infested”. As our flea control article explains, one pregnant flea will lay hundreds of eggs and after these eggs hatch and go through their course of development, at one point they’ll become biting adults. Not surprisingly most can become adults around the same time as their brothers and sisters. And when this happens, pets will seemingly become infested overnight!

Which brings us back full circle. Yes it’s true that you alone could not have gotten these cats infested in just two days. But how about two weeks or a month? That’s right, if you were over your friends house two weeks ago or even a month ago, it’s entirely possible one pregnant flea jumped off you and into her home where hundreds of eggs could have been laid. If that happened, it’s entirely possible those eggs could have all evolved into adult fleas around the same time which just so happened to be when your friend was at the hospital!

So in the end, my best guess is that these cats got the current flea problem from a massive hatching that just now occurred in the home. As to who brought in the flea that laid all the eggs leading this infestation? That’s the $64,000.00 question and I’m pretty sure no one can answer that question with any certainty.

Read up on all you’d ever want to know on fleas here:

Flea Control Article: