There are many different species of Flea however the Cat Flea is the most common in the UK today. (Others include dog, bird and to a much lesser extent, Human flea which is commonly found around Pig farms) however their habits and treatment are generally the same.
Flea bites are irritating at the least. Left untreated, cat and dogs can also be affected with Dermatitis and parasitic infections like Tapeworm.
An adult Flea lives for about 25 days and cannot lay eggs without a blood feed. It will lay around an egg per hour, up to 2 – 400 eggs. These smooth surfaced eggs will fall to the floor as the host animal moves around. They are white, oval shaped and about 0.5mm in size.
Fleas aren’t usually spread by their jumping from host – host, rather the adult will remain on one host and its the immature adults that are picked up, perhaps on trousers or shoes or by your pet. They’ll also be present outdoors as they’ll breed on wild animals, birds, Hedgehogs, Foxes etc and they are brought indoors.
When you see a few Fleas on your pet or you’ve had a couple of Flea bites, it’s often only the tip of the Iceberg as only a small percentage of fleas (5% or so) are adults with the rest being eggs, larvae or pupae.
These eggs will take two days – two weeks to hatch into Larva at 1.5 – 5mm in length. Warmer, more humid environments means they’ll hatch quicker, more the 2 – 5 day mark.
Larva need to feed within a day or two of hatching or they will die. They are hard to spot as they avoid light, seeking shelter in cracks and crevices or deep within the pile of your carpet. Larvae are off-white with darker guts showing through the skin.
The feed on organic matter, such as food particles, dead skin and are especially partial to adult flea faecal matter as it contains undigested blood.
After around two weeks, the larvae are ready to pupate. Each will create a silken cocoon which attracts dirt and debris to its sticky surface for camouflage.
It can take only a week or six months+ before hatching out, only when it feels vibration from a nearby host(s) to feed from.
This is why you can go on holiday for a couple weeks without a Flea problem and return to find them all over the place.
2. What else Needs to be Done to Ensure a Successful Flea Treatment
Its important to note that any insecticidal spray treatment needs to be reinforced with good cleaning to ensure success. Cleaning and pet-care should be carried out at the same time, closely followed by your pest controllers visit.
Adult fleas need a host to breed. If you have a cat or dog, they should be shampooed, brushed through with a flea comb and veterinary flea treatments given.
If you have a regularly visiting friends dog, you may need a more sensitive approach, or a sneaky check when the owner is not watching followed by ‘Gosh, I was just giving Rover a scratch and I found a Flea..’
Pet bedding should be hot-washed at 60 degrees minimum or discarded. This may not kill all stages of all insects however it’s double action as they can also be washed away. If you can, put them through a tumble drying cycle at standard temperature as well which can also kill the life stages
If there is a place outside where pets regularly spend time – kennel, sunny corner of a patio or deck maybe, clean it thoroughly – hot-wash and scrub.
A thorough vacuum clean throughout the house is required – below sofa’s and chairs, lift cushions and get the narrow nozzle down the edges, move furniture around, stair carpets etc. If you have any hard floors or Lino, pay special attention around edges and any joins or cracks.
This will collect food sources, eggs and immature adults. Because the Larvae hide away or curl around carpet fibres, they can survive this as can Pupae.
Vacuuming just before our arrival is optimum as this will lift carpet pile and allow greater penetration of our insecticide. The intense vibrations may also cause eggs to hatch which helps.
3. Vanguard’s Flea Treatment Service
If preferred, we can carry out the above thorough vacuum cleaning as part of our work. We can discuss this over the phone.
Closely following the vacuuming, we mist-spray a professional flea control insecticide to carpets, wall/floor junctions, backs/undersides of chairs/sofa etc to kill larvae and remaining adults.
Note that stored/stacked items/boxes etc will need moving to allow our access to as much carpet as possible, especially edges. (We don’t expect large or awkward bits of furniture to be moved).
We don’t treat cushion or seat covers, Throws etc. They should be washed.
Note that the eggs and pupae are largely resistant to insecticides however our professional products have a residual effect to keep on working after we leave to kill new larvae and adults.
Avoiding vacuum cleaning carpets for one week after our treatment is recommended.
We combine our insecticide with an Insect Growth Regulator) (IGR) which interferes with the moulting process at egg & larval stage preventing insect growth.
This has a longer residual effect indoors around 8-12 weeks meaning long term flea population control, albeit not having the ‘instant kill’ effect that insecticides have.
We need the property clear of people (especially children) and pets during our treatment and for maybe an hour afterwards until it dries. After this, life can go on as normal.
Fish are very sensitive to many insecticides therefore any fish tanks in the rooms we treat should be well covered and air pumps switched off while we are spraying.
4. OK, That’s fine, but how does that explain Fleas in my office?
Rodent infestations can harbour fleas as can birds roosting or nesting on the building. As mentioned above, fleas can be picked up from outside and walked indoors or an unsuspecting pet owner can bring one or more in. Again, if she lays eggs as the host moves around, they fall to the floor accordingly.
This is why an office flea treatment shouldn’t be restricted to the desk(s) or part of office that is complaining. Treatment should be more wide-spread to be safe.
Office flea treatments are always carried out when staff are not present, so early evenings is commonplace. Avoiding vacuuming carpets for a week is recommended, or 2-3 days minimum.
Treating on a Friday evening so it’s left for the weekend is a good solution.
5. Cable Bug
Its not uncommon in offices for build-ups of static electricity to cause arcing onto bare legs or arms. Loose carpet fibres can be statically charged and shoot off like tiny darts to stick in the skin. They look and irritate in the same manner as flea bites.
Modern offices have man-made carpets with, a dry, air-conditioned atmosphere, Staff have synthetic soled shoes and work on metal framed furniture around various electrical equipment.
Treating with insecticides is not the answer – introducing higher humidity may help, as well as earthing out metal furniture and the like. Thorough vacuuming to remove loose carpet fibres should be carried out as well. We can also carry out anti-static spray treatments into carpets.
Want to find out more? – why not call us for a no-obligation conversation?
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