Fleas are the source of many biting complaints, especially in homes that have pets such as dogs and cats. However even in homes that do not have pets, if a previous occupant kept pets, the infestation could resume.
We understand the discomfort and upset that a flea infestation causes, and we have many years’ experience eradicating this parasitic insect. We offer a flea treatment service that will ensure your home or business is free of this blood-sucking insect.
If you are unsure as to whether fleas are the source of the problem, then arrange an inspection with us. Our qualified expert will conduct a thorough property survey to determine the cause, extent and level of infestation. Using this information, we will then devise a treatment strategy that will quickly exterminate the flea infestation.
Flea Bites: Fleas normally parasitise our pets but will also readily bite humans. They are biting us to feed on our blood and these bites can make an infested property a miserable living experience. Fleas usually bite the lower leg and can be extremely itchy and the constant scratching can result in sores that can become infected.
Fleas Cause Loss of Reputation: If there is an infestation of fleas in a hotel, B&B, holiday cottage, rented property etc. the affected customers/tenants are likely to be very unhappy and want a quick resolution to the flea infestation. Negative reviews and feeds on social media can have serious financial implications on a business, where fleas can literally ‘suck the blood’ out of the business.
Fleas are usually introduced into a property via infested pets (usually cats and dogs) but can also be introduced through an infestation of rodents or nesting birds. Fleas can also go into a dormant phase (See Life Cycle Below) in the absence of a host and it is quite common for a vacant property to come alive with fleas when new owners/tenants move in.
Fleas on Pets: Many flea treatments that we carry out are in properties that have dogs or cats and the most common flea we treat against is the cat flea, which will also live on dogs. When pets become infested, the infestation will soon spread around the house and if the pet isn’t available, then we (humans) are the next best thing to feed on. As pets tend to rest and sleep in various locations, it is these areas that tend to be the most heavily infested. Areas around the garden can also become infested with decking being a common area for concern. Pets will lay on decking boards and significant amounts of pet hair will accumulate between the boards, providing an ideal location.
Fleas on second hand furniture/soft furnishings: Fleas can also be introduced into a property via infested used sofas, carpets, rugs, beds etc. The unwitting recipient can then find themselves being bitten even if pets are absent.
Fleas on Pets: If pets are responsible for the flea infestation then the brushing of pets can often reveal adult fleas or flea droppings. This is why it is so important that pets are regularly treated for fleas using a veterinary approved product.
Flea Bites: Fleas bites appear as small red lumps that often appear in clusters or straight lines. The most common location of flea bites are the lower legs, but other areas of the body can be affected.
Fleas Jumping: In established flea infestations it is common to see fleas jumping as people walk across the floor. This is a common occurrence in vacant properties, where the hatching of the pupae is stimulated by the vibration, pressure and heat of new occupants walking over the floors.
Flea Eggs, Larvae and Pupae: Fleas undergo a complete metamorphosis so have 4 distinct stages to their life cycle. It is the adult fleas that are the most identifiable stage, but other stages can also be found during an infestation. Eggs are less than 1mm and can sometimes be found on the host but more likely to be found in the pets bedding. Larvae are 2mm long and resemble short pieces of cotton. These can also often be found around the pets bedding. The pupae are the fleas’ transformative stage and are covered in a tan coloured sticky cocoon that rapidly accumulates a camouflage coat of the surrounding debris. These pupae are often found around pets bedding. (See Flea Life Cycle Below)
Flea Pre-treatment preparation: There are some pre-treatment tasks that need to be carried out before we undertake the treatment:
Flea Treatment: People and pets must leave the home/business whilst it’s being treated and stay out until all areas are completely dry. This is because the property will be sprayed with an insecticide to kill the fleas, which can be harmful before it’s dry. The treatment process involves spraying the floors, and sometimes soft furnishings, with a specialist residual insecticide. This will kill any fleas and larvae that are directly contacted but more importantly, leave a fine residue of insecticide that will kill the adults when they emerge from their pupal cases.
Flea Post-treatment Recommendations: For the treatment to be successful, there should be no cleaning or vacuuming of the treated areas for 14 days. This will allow the insecticide to remain in place and kill any emerging fleas. After 14 days a thorough deep clean should be carried out. To ensure the house is not re-infested we recommend that pet bedding is washed regularly and pets continue to have scheduled flea treatments.
Appearance: The adult flea is 2mm long and a dark mahogany colour. They have very long hind legs that allow them to jump up to 18cm vertically. They have laterally flattened bodies and backward facing spines that allow them to move through their hosts fur.
Life Cycle: Fleas have a life cycle like a butterfly in that they undergo a complete metamorphosis:
Egg Larva Pupa Adult Flea
The eggs are laid by the female flea after she has had a blood meal. The flea eggs are less than 1mm long, white and oval shaped and are deposited in clusters of 20 to 30 on the host animal. They fall off the host and hatch in a matter of days. A female flea can lay between 2000 and 8000 eggs during her lifetime.
The hatched larvae are thin, light coloured and 2mm long. They resemble short lengths of white cotton. These flea larvae then begin to feed on any animal protein but especially the droppings of adults which are still rich in blood. The larvae prefer areas of high humidity which is often found in pet bedding. The larvae undergo 3 moults over a 3 to 4 week period before spinning a cocoon in which they pupate.
In occupied properties, the average time for the emergence of adults is 2 to 4 weeks. However, in the absence of stimulation (vibration/pressure/heat caused by people or pets walking by) the emergence of the biting adult fleas can be delayed for up to 1 year. This period of dormancy is called the ‘pupal window’, and is the explanation as to why unoccupied properties suddenly come alive with fleas when the new householders move in.
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