Fleas Fact Sheet
Infestation Identification: All species of fleas have a very similar appearance, the most common are cat and dog fleas, which can live together. Their eggs are translucent to white in colour and approximately 0.5mm long and will be laid on their host but they usually fall off onto the floor. The larvae are between 2mm and 3mm long, they are an off -white colour and look similar to maggots, after the larvae comes the pupae, which are a light brown colour and are 1.5mm to 3.5mm long. Adult fleas are usually 1mm to 4mm long, which can be a light or dark brown colour, they have 6 legs and 3 body segments, their bodies are flattened side-to-side, with dark spines, bristles, and combs cover the body.
Ctenocephalides Felis (Cat Flea)
Ctenocephalides Canis (Dog Flea)
Diet: A flea feeds on the blood from its host, which is a warm-blooded animal or person. Bites on people will usually be around the ankles and legs, which will be red and itchy, the bites can be treated with an antihistamine cream, which can be purchased from a chemist or supermarket.
Habitat: Fleas can live in any property, especially in warm and carpets areas, which is close to their host, which means that will usually be in pet bedding, sofas and carpets and not always on the host.
Prevention: It is difficult to stop a flea infestation of occurring but to reduce the risk, it is important that you check pets for fleas and carry out pet flea treatments on a regular basis, an easy way to check for fleas is whilst grooming them, empty the pet brush onto a white piece of paper and look for fleas, otherwise they can be difficult to see. Fleas can be carried from property to property on clothing and other items, so if you visit other properties, check you clothing. Hoovering and cleaning, especially pet bedding, will help prevent fleas.
Life Cycle: When an egg is laid it has to go through the following stages; egg, larvae, pupae and adult to complete its life cycle, this takes between and 26 days depending on the temperature. A female flea can lay between 20-50 eggs per day, which is up to 1500 in a lifetime.
General Information: It is not uncommon for new home owners to have a flea infestation because fleas which are at their pupae stage, can remain dormant in an empty property for approximately 9 months and will hatch when the property has hosts for them to feed on.
Treatments: Before any treatments are carried out, we recommend that if you have a pet, it is treated for fleas immediately, treatments are available from pet shops and vets. There are amateur use products to eradicate infestations in your home, which can sometimes be effective if the infestation is caught early enough. You will need to spray all affected items such as; pet bedding clothing, fabrics, wool, carpets, floors and sofas with the product, this will need repeating several times usually. If the treatment is not effective, you will need to have a professional pest controller carry out a treatment. Flea traps are a good option to catch some of the fleas, however they are only used as a monitor to indicate the size of the infestation. Fully trained pest controllers are licenced to use very strong chemicals which will fully eradicate the moth infestation.
Organic and insecticide free flea treatments are also available, which are very similar, however they do not contain chemicals.
One flea can lay 25 to 50 eggs per day (which is up to 1500 eggs in its lifetime).
Fleas are only able to lay eggs after feeding blood from their host.
Fleas can be transported on clothes from property to property.
It takes between 18 and 26 days for a flea to develop from egg to adult.
Approximately 90% of fleas are cat or dog fleas.
Fleas which are at their pupae stage can remain dormant in an empty property for approximately 9 months and will hatch when the property has hosts for them to feed on.
Pets and people can be sensitive to flea bites and can cause allergic reactions.
Flea larvae can become infected with tapeworm eggs.
Fleas only feed when they are adults.
Some fleas can leap a hundred times its body length.