Fleas are a common problem within households with pets, the majority of fleas are either cat fleas or dog fleas. They are the most common external parasite of dogs and cats and it is likely that every cat and dog will suffer an infestation at some point in their lives.
These insects prefer a temperature between 65 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 – 27 Celsius) which would have made them a seasonal pest before the wide spread use of centrally heated houses.
Fleas live on pets, mammals, in carpets, in sofas as well as other household furnishings. In a typical room, 5 % of the fleas will be found on pets, 10 % flea cocoons in the carpets, 35 % flea larvae and 50% flea eggs, also in the carpets.
The Flea life cycle is similar to the butterfly life cycle.
Fleas lay eggs that turn in to grub-like larvae. The larvae then develop into pupae and settle inside a cocoon. They wait for a host to start their life and suck blood.
Fleas in all stages should be killed to rid your house of them completely.
Resistive pupae and larvae grow on to become adult fleas in a few weeks even though the adult fleas are killed. Fleas should be removed from all stages in their life cycle.
Adult fleas are tiny (about 1 – 2.5 mm in length, depending on the species), their bodies are thin and flat for better movement through an animal’s fur. They have mouth parts which are used to extract the host’s blood and depending on whether they have fed or not, they appear from yellowish to dark brown in colour.
Signs to look out for are:
Checking your pet should be the first thing on your list to determining if you have a flea problem. Excessive scratching, reddened skin, loss of hair and the presence of live fleas on the head and neck areas, which are most targeted, are all signs of flea infestation. Sometimes you might not find an actual flea on your pet’s coat, but you might find other signs of their presence like flea dirt or eggs. Flea larvae and pupae are found in and around areas where pets are spending time active or sleeping. Other signs of flea infestation include flea bites – most commonly on legs and arms resulting in red itchy spots – these occur in cases of large flea infestations.
Are fleas a health hazard?
Fleas are mostly just annoying biting pests of both humans and animals, severe cases of infested animals often result in dermatitis. Catching a virus or disease because of cat, dog or human fleas is highly unlikely. Flea bites are predominately found on humans around ankles and feet or if bitten at night in bed, around the mid-rift.
If you suspect a flea infestation you can take advantage of our assessment service where by one of our Officers will attend. They will carry out an investigation into your concerns and if necessary lay some traps for confirmation. If it is confirmed that you have fleas they will give advice about preparing the room for treatment and request you book a visit for treatment. The cost of this assessment visit £31 is taken from the cost of treatment.
If the Officer can treat at the time of the assessment visit he will request that you call the Contact Centre to pay the outstanding amount (this is dependent upon the size of your house).
Once sufficient preparation has taken place, the vast majority of clutter has been removed from affected area, our Officer can spray the floor and any soft furnishings with the necessary product.
We have numerous insecticides at our disposal, all of which act in a similar way.
The product is diluted within water which makes it easier to distribute within the rooms. Once the water has dried out the remaining product remains in place. As long as this is not damaged or removed by vacuuming or cleaning the active ingredient will continue to kill the fleas and any of the young once they hatch from eggs already laid in the carpet.