Fleas: Breed rapidly, very agile and hard to spot

Despite their minuscule size, fleas are tenacious and capable of jumping 30,000 times without stopping! This can make them both difficult to spot and remove, but it’s essential that you do. Unlike some of the other pests we deal with, fleas can pose serious health risks making it crucial you know what to do in the case of an infestation.

What do Fleas Look Like?

At just 3mm in size, fleas are tiny creatures with powerful back legs for catapulting themselves through the air and onto our furry friends. These wingless pests have long, reddish brown bodies and their flat, narrow shape means they can move speedily through an animal’s fur.

What do Fleas Eat?

For this particular parasite, blood is the staple of their diet. Given their incredible agility, your pets are easy targets and their presence will often go unnoticed. Although animals are more susceptible, fleas are also partial to snacking on humans if they’re presented with the opportunity. Tiny red, dark spots surrounded by small, slightly swollen redness could be a sign that you’ve been bitten. These spots will likely also become uncomfortably itchy.

Where do Fleas Live?

Typically, fleas thrive in warmth and humidity. Before potentially making their way into your homes via your pets, they often live in high grass, sand, sheds and debris. It is only adult fleas that are found on live hosts – including cats, dogs and rodents – while flea larvae prefer dark and dusty spots like floors and carpet fibre. Although eggs are initially laid on your pet’s fur, they can easily be spread elsewhere, like bedding, furniture, carpet and even appliances.

Are Fleas Bad for my Health?

Fleas pose serious health hazards not only to your pets, but to humans too. Certain species are well known for spreading potentially life-threatening diseases. These include typhus, bubonic plague, spotted fever and tapeworms. While the risk is there, infections in the UK are rare due to vaccinations and strong hygiene standards. More common hazards are mild allergic reactions, such as a rash, which can result in secondary infections due to scratching.

Because our pets are more susceptible to fleas, they can suffer multiple bites in a short period, leading to severe discomfort. Whether it’s for yourself or your pet, you should always seek medical advice from the relevant professional, whether it’s your doctor or veterinarian

What are the Signs of an Infestation?

Despite fleas being visible to the naked eye, their size and lightning quick speeds means they can be extremely difficult to spot. Consequently, signs of flea bites are the best indicator of an infestation.

Your canine or feline friends may have been bitten by fleas if they are excessively scratching, licking or gnawing at their fur. You may also notice reddened or raw patches of skin, as well as rows of little red spots. If you notice these signs, it might be worth looking closely in their fur for moving, dark pin-prick dots, just to be sure. The signs will be similar on humans, so keep an eye out for rows of minuscule spots, accompanied by itching or eczema.

How can I Prevent an Infestation?

Pets are the main route for fleas to enter your home, so you should apply a monthly spot-on treatment, even if you haven’t noticed a problem before. Wash their bedding and toys weekly at a high temperature, alongside cleaning your furniture regularly. Vacuuming often – concentrating on low-traffic areas where larvae are likely to hide, such as corners and under furniture – can also be an effective way of keeping fleas out your home. However, make sure you empty the vacuum outside or throw the bag away.

How to get rid of an Infestation

Fleas are prolific breeders which means infestations can spread very rapidly – part of the reason why DIY de-infestation isn’t recommended. A professional pest controller will have the expertise, skill and suitable treatments, such as specific insecticides and flea traps, to ensure the issue is removed quickly and efficiently.

If you think you have a flea problem in your property, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 02084304133. Get more news and advice on various other pests here and be sure to follow our social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.