The biology, ecology, and management of the cat flea

Annu Rev Entomol. 1997:42:451-73. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.42.1.451.


The cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis felis, is the most important ectoparasite of domestic cats and dogs worldwide. In addition to its annoyance to pets and humans, C. felis felis is responsible for flea bite allergy dermatitis and the transmission of dog tapeworm. The abiotic and biotic factors that affect the development of immature stages are reviewed with special emphasis given to those aspects directly affecting control. Factors influencing host selection and feeding by adults are summarized. Recent studies concerning mating and oviposition, especially as they impact the likelihood of survival by immatures, are discussed. There has been an increase in the number of reports of insecticide resistance in the past ten years. Greater attention has been placed on disrupting larval development in modern IPM programs. The immature stages of the cat flea are extremely susceptible to environmental factors such as temperature and relative humidity and insect growth regulators (IGRs). In recent years, the control of cat fleas has increasingly relied on the use of IGRs applied to the host or to the indoor environment. Finally, we discuss advances in pesticide chemistry that provide tools for better control of adult fleas on the host.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Ecology*
  • Humans
  • Insect Control*
  • Siphonaptera / physiology*