Flea Treatments & Control
Most people have experienced a fleabite in their lifetime, as fleas invade any home regardless of how clean you keep your house. It is a common myth that fleas infest untidy homes, as this is simply not true. Please do not feel embarrassed if you have a flea infestation as it’s very easy to pick up an infestation as they can enter your home on guests, pets and many other ways. Once they are in the home they are very difficult to eliminate with DIY products due to the longevity of the flea life cycle. The flea life cycle progresses from egg to larva then pupa and finally an adult (known as complete metamorphosis). This life cycle can be completed if the conditions are warm and there is the presence of a suitable host which can be an animal but also humans. The life cycle can take approximately one month, using the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis as a guide. The pupal stage is significant because fleas can survive for several months in the absence of a host and in cool conditions before emerging when someone or something enters the undisturbed area again. This is common when entering a vacant rental property or empty property and a flea outbreak occurs although there is nothing present. Control of fleas in vacant properties can be challenging with typical treatments because a large portion of the flea population is still in the pupal stage which is encased within a silk outer layer which repels water. By the time you realize you have fleas they have already laid eggs around your home. There is normally a spike in activity during the months of August, through September and October. Fleas are attracted to heat vibration and movement which to them indicates a food source. They will feed on a source and then lay some eggs and so the process starts.
Adult fleas survive on blood, feasting on a host via piercing and sucking mouth-parts, this is what people commonly class as a flea bite. Flea larvae consume various organic fragments such as particles of food and faeces. The most important part of their diet is part-digested blood excreted by adult fleas. Therefore, vacuuming and cleanliness is an important part of flea management, as removal of the larval food source can be advantageous. Vacuuming also removes 90% of flea eggs, 50% of larvae and up to 95% of adult fleas, so hoovering is always an important part of the treatment and an underrated method in the battle against the flea. You must however remember to remove the hoover bag and dispose of it in an outside bin as soon as you have finished or empty a bag-less hoover in an outside bin or there is a good chance you will re-infest a room or even other rooms with fleas.
It is difficult to see fleas, due to their small size but you normally become quickly aware of their presence after receiving a flea bite. Fleas breed rapidly and need immediate professional treatment, as an infestation can become unbearable to live with. You can spend vast amounts of time and money attempting to rid your home or office of fleas to little success. This is because the longevity of the flea life cycle, and flea pupal can lay dormant for up to 2 years. You can do some self-help and the most obvious one is to regularly carry out a flea treatment on your pets. Just because they do not have fleas, does not mean you should stop treating them as this is when they become most vulnerable.
The Flea Treatment
Pest-Tech Ltd have a strategy for flea control and the first part job is to survey the property or workplace to establish what the extent of the building is infested with fleas, Identify the species of flea we are dealing with. If a flea monitor is deployed, then it will capture adult fleas and the sticky pads can then be submitted to an entomologist for reliable identification. Where host animals are present, we ask the occupier which areas are frequented by their pet, these are likely seats of flea activity.
Prior to the treatment we issue Pre-Treatment Preparation instructions to ensure the property is prepared as best to get the best results from the treatment. Firstly, would be vacuuming the premises, paying attention to floors and upholstered furniture. The purpose of this is to remove animal hair, organic debris and eggs, larvae, pupae and adult fleas. An added benefit of vacuuming is that the vibrations can trigger adults to emerge from their dormant pupal stage. Of course, this is when the adult fleas begin to contact insecticide deposits. Steam cleaning may be necessary as an additional measure in more dirty or challenging conditions. Vacuuming efforts should be focussed under furniture, chairs, sofa cushions, cracks and crevices in floors and along walls, all wall-floor junctions, as these are areas typically frequented by host animals like cats and dogs. Take care to dispose of the contents of the vacuum cleaner securely and in an outside rubbish bin to minimise the risk of transferring fleas throughout the property. We request the bedding to be removed and placed in the wash (60 degrees) to deal with any fleas etc on the bed. We ask the owner to ensure access to as much floorspace as possible, so the whole area can be treated this includes removing clothes lifting shoes and moving any other items to free up floor space. We recommend that concrete and tile floors are swept and washed. Any clothes that have been on the floor are to be placed in the wash the same as the bedding. Pet bedding should be washed or disposed of to remove fleas and all other stages of. We ask that if the owner has pets then they are advised to treat their animal with a relevant flea control product. This provides the greatest chance of total control as both the residence and host have been appropriately treated.
The flea treatment entails a spray treatment with a high-quality residual insecticide within the guidelines of the label directions. An insecticidal fog mist will also be used to get into all the cracks and crevices to agitate the adult fleas to get them moving about into the path of the treated areas Insecticide residues should be left undisturbed for as long as possible to ensure maximum residual activity. The key point regarding insecticide use is to follow product label directions.
If you have a flea infestation and you would like to talk about having a treatment carried out, then please give Pest-Tech Ltd a call and we will be able to help you.
How long can fleas live for?
The record is held by starved fleas of wild rodents in Russia, which are recorded as having lived for up to 369 days (over a year!) in cool conditions. On average Cat fleas survive for 2-4 months in warm conditions and regular opportunities to take a feed (blood meal) from a suitable host.
Which flea species is the most common on domestic dogs in the UK?
The cat flea is more commonly associated with domestic dogs in the UK than the dog flea. In fact, the cat flea breeds perfectly well on dog blood and is not host-specific to the cat. The cat flea is without a doubt the flea found most commonly associated with domestic cats in the UK. Cat fleas cannot reproduce in a practical setting when feeding on human blood, they just maintain their life span.
Are fleas black?
Cat fleas are a dark brown colour the dark coloration is caused by overlapping abdominal segments. As the young, unfed adult fleas feed they grow and they appear a lighter shade of brown.
Are fleas visible?
Fleas are generally big enough to be seen, so you can see the fleas on your cat or dog. If you see one, then you should look for fleas on your pet.
How do you know if you have fleas?
You should inspect carpets and rugs for any adult fleas, wearing a pair of white socks, slowly shuffle your feet over the carpet or rug. Check your pet’s crate and bedding, look closely at bedding and inside the crate for live fleas and flea dirt. Finally check upholstered furniture and other places your pets spend time resting or grooming for flea evidence.
Are fleas attracted to light?
Flea larvae will die when exposed to direct sunlight. Fleas are not attracted to light fleas are repelled by light and prefer to burrow deep in carpet and fur. They are attracted to body heat, vibration and carbon dioxide.
How do you confirm you have fleas?
Place a white pillow slip on the floor where you think you have seen activity then place a small table lamp on the pillow slip, the fleas will be attracted to the heat and you will then be able to see them jumping on the white background.
Are fleas dangerous?
Fleas are not only a nuisance to humans and their pets but can cause medical problems in pets including flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), tapeworms, hair loss, and secondary skin irritations. They can also cause pain through scratching the bite area.
Are fleas and lice the same?
Both fleas and lice are small, wingless, parasitic insects, capable of living on your pet or human. Fleas and lice cause great discomfort to their hosts, mainly in the form of itchy skin, irritated skin but beyond these basic similarities, the two parasites do not have much in common.
Are fleas visible to the human eye?
Yes, fleas are visible, and you should be able to see them on your pets when doing checks.
Are fleas nocturnal?
Cat fleas are more active at night than during the day. They can be loosely labelled as nocturnal but their activity peaks at dusk and fleas are never completely inactive.
Are fleas asexual? Cat fleas don’t reproduce asexually, offspring are only produced after flea eggs are fertilized through successful mating.
Are fleas’ insects?
Fleas are small flightless insects that form the order Siphonaptera. As external parasites of mammals and birds. They live by consuming the blood of their hosts. Adult fleas are up to about 3 mm long and usually brown. There are over 2,500 species of fleas worldwide.
Are fleas hard to kill?
Fleas are so hard to get rid of because we tend to only focus on eliminating the adults. To get rid of fleas you need to treat your pet and the environment. So that means finding a treatment for your dog that kills adult fleas, and then eliminating all the eggs, larva & pupa they left behind. Fleas reproduce at a rapid rate, an adult female flea lays 20-30 eggs on average per day, but they can lay up to 50. So when getting rid of fleas, just treating for the adults isn’t enough, you also need to treat the environment to get rid of all the eggs and larvae as well.
Are fleas seasonal?
Flea season usually starts in May and goes through to winter. The worst time of the year for fleas is September, October, and November, which ties in with the central heating going on.
Are fleas attracted to white?
Fleas are not attracted to white, however they are easier to see on a light background.
Can fleas live in beds?
Pets transfer fleas to beds and furniture where they sleep. From here, fleas quickly spread around the house. Since immature fleas live and feed off a host in beds and rugs, finding out where the fleas are living is crucial to stop an infestation.
Can fleas fly?
Fleas cant fly, they very small wingless insects that are extremely good jumpers. Fleas can jump up to 3.9 feet which is over 100 times their body size.
Can fleas live on humans?
Cat fleas occasionally bite humans, however, they don’t breed on them.
Can fleas live through a washing cycle?
Flea infestations in the home are incredibly difficult to eradicate, but washing household items on the hot cycle, followed by a spin in the dryer is an effective method of control. Fleas will not survive a trip through the washing machine.
Can fleas kill a dog?
fleas pose many health risks to dogs. In some cases, fleas have actually killed small puppies or weaker dogs that were suffering from other health issues.
Can fleas live in grass?
fleas prefer moist, shady, cool places. They especially like shrubs, leaves, and trees, and don’t fare well in sunny areas or open grass.
Can fleas transfer from cats to humans?
If cat fleas are removed from their animal host, or if that host proves an insufficient food source, cat fleas often will bite humans.
Can fleas bite humans?
cat fleas do not prefer to feed on humans.
Can fleas bite through clothes?
No fleas can’t bite through clothes, but they will move beneath clothing to feed.
Can fleas live on furniture?
Yes they can, they can live anywhere, where a pet sleeps.
Can fleas survive without a host?
A flea can live more than 100 days without a feed. On average, they live two to three months. While adult fleas all suck blood from a cat or dog or other mammal, their larvae live and feed on organic debris in the host animal’s environment.
Can fleas drown?
Yes they can drown.
Can fleas swim?
Fleas can’t swim. They also won’t break the surface tension of water. Upon entering water, fleas flail around on the surface to reach a physical object so they can jump or crawl out.
Can fleas kill kittens?
Fleas carry diseases that if transmitted can be fatal to cats and kittens. Fleas on kittens can quickly dehydrate their tiny bodies, kittens are especially at risk due to their small size and weight.
Does a flea bite hurt?
Flea bites don’t hurt, most people aren’t aware of being bitten until an itchy skin reaction develops.
Where do fleas live?
They usually live on the underbelly area of your pet, they attach to the fur of the animals from infested dirt or foliage. Once their host goes inside of your home, they transfer to your carpet and furnishings. Fleas thrive in warm, moist places.
Who exterminates fleas?
What has the impact of modern bagless vacuum cleaners had on prevalence of fleas and their activity in domestic homes?
Some of the larger-capacity reservoirs are quite loose fitting so fleas might escape from the vacuum cleaner and infest other previously flea-free rooms as the hoover is moved the property. The larger capacity bag-less vacuum cleaners are not disposed of as frequently and securely as the more traditional bag cleaners with the loose contents, tipped into the kitchen waste bin, rather than a small old-style bag being tied up and disposed of in an outdoor bin. This is not to say that vacuuming is a bad idea in flea management as long as you discard the contents in a bin outside. Remember to use a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner to prevent the re-circulation of insect fragments which may cause allergic asthma.