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FLEAS

Identification & Biology of Fleas:

 

  • Adult fleas are about 2-7mm long
  • Reddish brown in colour
  • Compressed bodies
  • Relatively large hind limbs
  • Backward pointed spine
  • No wings although transitory wing buds develop in pupae of some species

 

Fleas lay around 50 eggs a day, the complete life cycle takes only four weeks in summer months. The eggs are 0.5mm long, oval shaped & pearly white in colour & are laid generally in the fur or feathers of its host or in its nest. They easily fall off the host through shaking or scratching. This also applies to the dark colour faeces of the adult fleas creating the black & white salt & pepper- effect noted with flea infestations. The female is capable of producing up to 1000 eggs during her lifetime, which can be 2 years.

Where fleas live & how they affect you:

All fleas live as parasites on warm blooded animals, including humans. Larval stages nest in the host & feed on skin, feathers & the blood-rich faeces of the adult flea. The larvae once fully grown spin camouflaged silken cocoons. Once fully developed, the adult waits until it feels the vibrations caused by a potential host & only then does it come into view. Adult fleas feed on blood their bites may cause deep irritation around a central bright red spot. People can react differently to a bite in relation to the severity of reaction & the time taken to react. September tends to be the peak month for flea infestations. Wall to wall carpeting provides a quiet & undisturbed environment for the flea larvae to develop, whilst central heating ensures ideal temperature conditions.

Control measures for fleas:

If you suspect you have an infestation of fleas it is important to check animal bedding & indeed the animal itself. If you see salt & pepper like debris on your pets there is a strong likely hood that fleas are the probable cause. This can be treated with a special comb & insecticide recommended by your vet. All pet bedding will need either destroying or washed on a hot cycle. Treatment of fleas in your property is best achieved using an insecticidal with a follow up visit to ensure that the infestation is destroyed. Where rats & mice have been identified as the source of the flea infestation, rodenticides can be used to control them & indirectly take care of the fleas.

Fleas - Helpful Tips:

Hygiene is of key importance to the control of fleas & the following is necessary to eliminate the problem:

  • Regular cleaning will prevent the insects from having a breeding site.
  • Ensure that all infested clothing & bedding is either destroyed by burning or thoroughly cleaned using a hot cycle.
  • Accumulations of debris from cracks between floor boards & other cracks & crevices need to be removed & thoroughly cleaned.
  • Ensure that your pets are treated with a special comb & insecticide recommended by your vet.