Adult Fleas are about 2-7mm long and brownish in colour. Their bodies are compressed which allows them to move efficiently through hairs, and their relatively large hind limbs allow them to have excellent jumping qualities.
In the British Isles the following are most commonly found:
- The Cat Flea (Ctenocephalides felis)
- The Dog Flea (Ctenocephaides canis)
- And occasionally The Human Flea.
All fleas live as parasites on warm blooded animals, and although the different species prefer their own host, the dog and cat flea can be found on and feeds from humans and other animals. If you suspect that you may have an infestation of fleas, either by suffering skin irritations, or spots on the skin of unknown origins, or indeed by seeing them, you should first check any bedding used by your pets and the cat or dog itself for any signs. Cat fleas account for the most common and largest infestations in the British Isles.
Problems with fleas tend to be at their greatest during September when the flea population tends to be at its peak, and can cause the most problems in areas of population of high density. In the British Isles fleas are not generally found to spread infections but do however inflict an unpleasant and irritating bite on their hosts.
The females lay their eggs in the nest or bedding of the infested animals or in dust and crevices in buildings. The eggs then develop into bristly, legless larvae which pupate and turn into adults within approximately 7 weeks. Eggs are small oval shaped and pearl white. Larvae thrive in dark humid places. The pupa can remain through the winter, and emerge when triggered by the movement of a suitable host. Their life cycle is generally 4 weeks but can be longer in cold weather.
Control of Fleas
Firstly clean all animal bedding or their sleeping places and scrape out and vacuum clean dusty crevices. These should then be sprayed with a suitable residual insecticide, ensure that only approved insecticides are used to treat the bedding. Spray the animal with an insecticide recommended by your Veterinary Surgeon.
Before the Treatment
First clear as much floor space as possible, to ensure that treatment is as thorough as possible.
- Vacuum all areas as this helps to remove any debris, eggs, larvae and adult fleas. The vibration of the vacuum cleaner also helps to stimulate adults to hatch from their cocoon stage. Pay particular attention to areas where your pet may sleep.
- Remember to remove the bag from the vacuum cleaner and dispose of it in an outside bin as you may have collected eggs, larvae and adult fleas.
- Pets must also be treated with a product approved for veterinary use and their bedding thoroughly washed at a high temperature.
After the Treatment
- The insecticide will be applied to all floor surfaces and these areas must not be vacuumed or washed for at least 14 days after the treatment or longer if possible.
- New adult fleas may still emerge up to a month after treatment but there should still be sufficient insecticide present to kill them off.
Arrange Pest Control Treatement