The most common species of flea is the cat flea, well known for readily biting humans. Human fleas are extremely rare. Adult fleas are small wingless insects, flattened and red-brown in colour. They have backwardly directed spines and legs designed for jumping. Flea populations are distributed with about 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae, and 5% adults. Fleas are parasitic on warm-blooded animals with the females laying their eggs after feeding on the infested animal. Female fleas can live up to two years, during which time they can lay up to 1000 eggs. These eggs drop onto the floor and the animal’s bedding and after several days the eggs will develop into larvae. They are mainly active in communal rooms where pets sleep and where there is most activity and are generally found to be living on pets, in carpets, pet bedding and upholstered furniture. Adult Fleas feed on the blood of humans and animals. In the UK there is little evidence that fleas spread disease. However fleabites can cause intense irritation and can cause tapeworm when pets or humans swallow an immature flea.
Fleas are flightless, but very good at jumping, and once adult fleas emerge from the pupae, they jump onto an unsuspecting passing animalhost and start feeding on blood within minutes. Before feeding, fleas will pump saliva onto the skin to prevent the blood from clotting. Proteins in this saliva can cause severe allergic reactions in your pet. Just 24 hours after her first blood meal, the female starts laying eggs and can easily lay more than 2000 eggs in her lifetime.
The flea life cycle has 4 stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult flea. The entire cycle, from egg to adult flea, is complete in 12 – 22 days when temperature and humidity conditions are ideal, but more commonly takes 3 – 4 weeks. Surprisingly, only approximately 5% of a flea infestation is made up of adult fleas on your pet, whereas 95% is in your home as eggs, larvae and pupae. This means that to prevent and control flea infestations, both ‘on animal’ AND environmental protection MUST be used.
Lifespan: 2 to 4 months
Size: 1.5 – 3.3 mm long
Weight: 0.45 mg
Scientific name: Ctenocephalides
Habitat: On the skin of warm-blooded animals.
• A flea can jump higher than any other insect. If a flea was the size of an average human then it could jump higher than Big Ben.
A wet insecticide is sprayed in and around vulnerable areas of your home where fleas are likely living. Ultra Low Volume droplets are then dissipated by machine and due to natural air currents works its way into all cracks and crevices that are hard to get to with the wet spray.
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