Negative Characteristics: Fleas live mainly on our pets, but they do bite humans and they leave nasty, itchy red sores.
Redeeming Characteristics: None
- Groom or treat your pets to rid them of fleas and flea eggs.
- At the same time thoroughly vacuum clean the infested rooms.
- Immediately spray or dust the infested areas with one of the products listed below.
- You don't have to use chemicals to treat fleas. There are plenty of safe non-toxic options listed below.
- Treat again after about ten days to kill any hatching eggs. Vacuum again and again, especially under easy-chair cusions etc.
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Fleas: Description & Life Cycle
Although there are hundreds of species of fleas, it is the Cat Flea that commonly lives with our cats and dogs.
- the flea is very flat, side to side
- reddish brown in colour
- about 3mm long
- hair like bristles on the body aid navigation through animal hair
- female flea lays approx. 50 roundish white eggs per day, 500-600 over several months
- eggs are laid on the animal, but are quite smooth, so they fall off onto carpet, bedding etc.
- the eggs hatch after 2 days to several weeks depending on temperature
- the larvae that hatch are about 6-7mm long and semi-transparent white
- they have small hairs along their body and actively move
- they eat the feaces of adult fleas and other organic debris found in their environment
- larval stage lasts 5-18 days depending on available food
- larvae then spins a cocoon and pupates
- the pupa are to be found deep in carpeted areas or in layers of organic material like a garden
- the adult flea can stay in it's cocoon for only 5 days, or a year or more
- stimuli such as warm ambient temperatures, high humidity, vibrations or carbon dioxide emitted from potential prey can all cause the adult flea to emerge
- the adult emerges from the cocoon in less than a second and latches onto the prey
- once on the prey, they have their first blood meal
- the egg to adult cycle can take as little as 14 days in the optimum warm centrally heated conditions of a modern home
Signs of infestation:
It is very common for people not to realise they have fleas in the house until numbers have built up to such an extent that they start to feed of humans as well as their pets.
- if you suspect your pet may have fleas, comb it's fur with a special flea comb, that will collect any fleas within the path of the comb
- if you find 'salt and pepper' like black and white debris on your pet or in it's bedding, then you have fleas. That is a mixture of the eggs and dried blood from the fleas
- flea bites become small, round, red itching wounds often to be found around the ankles, wrists and stomach