Cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) are the common type of flea usually found around the home. Fleas are small wingless insects. Their flattened bodies are normally around 2mm long in size and reddish-brown in colour. Their legs are directed backwards to enable them to jump. Fleas can jump up to 7 inches high or 13 inches across. They might not be able to fly, but they can cross distances quickly.
Fleas are a frequent pest for anyone who owns pets. They are distributed globally and established throughout the UK. Certain regions like the North West suffer more than others, which explains the large demand for flea control in Liverpool and the surrounding areas. While fleas are usually a pest for pets, they can also feed on any other warm-blooded animals in the area – including humans.
Flea Habitat and Behaviour
Fleas prefer communal rooms where there is a lot of activity. They are often found in the room where a pet sleeps. Their habitats include pet fur or hair, bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpets. Adult fleas are parasitic, and will find a host to feed on their warm blood. They can live for up to 100 days without having a meal. After feeding, female fleas will lay eggs within 36-48 hours.
The eggs develop into larvae after several days. When they are done growing, the larvae then spin a cocoon. These cocoons keep them camouflaged. Adult fleas wait within their cocoon until vibrations indicate that there is a potential host nearby. Flea bites are itchy and can be painful. A flea bite looks like a red spot with a reddened patch around it. You can treat them with over-the-counter creams.
Flea Infestation Prevention
Preventing your pets from ever getting fleas is very difficult. However, reducing the chances of your pets catching fleas and spreading them around your house is easier. Here are a few maintenance routines you should do to make sure there are no fleas in house furniture, clothing, or pet fur:
- Use flea repellent products on your pet regularly (make sure they are approved by a vet).
- Keep the areas your pet spends time in as clean as possible. Vacuum cleaning will help to get rid of any fleas in the carpets. Remember to always empty the vacuum cleaner outside!
- Hygiene is very important, so you must wash pet bedding and blankets Washing with a pet shampoo including an insecticide will get rid of any fleas hiding in the material.
- Keep your garden tidy by gardening, especially in late summer. Flea season begins in May and continues through to winter. Mow your lawn and dispose of any grass or bush clippings.
Flea Control Methods
Before an insecticide treatment in your home, make sure to clear as much floor space as possible. This will ensure that the treatment is as thorough as it can be. Vacuum clean these areas to remove debris, eggs, larvae, and adult fleas. Dispose of them in a bin outside to prevent them escaping in the house. The vibration of the vacuum will stimulate the adult fleas to hatch from their cocoons as well.
Application of a residual insecticide is the standard treatment for premises with a flea infestation. This will include a juvenile hormone regulator in the form of a powder or liquid spray. After the application of insecticide to all floors, you cannot vacuum or wash them for at least 2 weeks. Doing so any earlier will eliminate the residual insecticide. The flea extermination treatment will then fail.