Common name: Human Flea, Cat Flea, Dog Flea
Latin name: Pulex irritans (human), Ctenocephalides felis (cat), Ctenocephalides canis (dog)
Larvae up to 5mm in length, segmented body with small white hairs and no legs. Adults 2mm in length, brown in colour, wingless with well-developed hind legs, move by jumping.
Adult fleas are parasitic, feeding on blood. Eggs are laid in the hair of the host but often drop off onto bedding or carpets. Eggs hatch within a couple of days and the larvae feed mainly on the faeces of the adult flea. Larvae go through 2 – 3 moults and are fully grown within 4 weeks, when they will pupate. Pupa can lie in wait for many months before vibrations stimulate them to hatch out into adult flea.
Impact of Fleas
Irritation – Human fleas can live on other animals such as badgers, foxes, hedgehogs and pigs. The flea will often live in our bedding, feeding at night by piercing the skin and sucking up blood. Their bites can cause great irritation, resulting in small red bite marks. If people are frequently attacked they can become de-sensitised and may not even notice the presence of the biting fleas.
Bite marks – Flea bites cause can cause small red spots or bumps to appear which may be itchy, they especially occur around the bottom of the legs if the fleas are living in your carpets. There may be a delay of several hours between the flea biting you and the red spot appearing.
Disease – Bubonic plague, otherwise known as the black death, is caused by a bacterium which is spread by fleas. It’s estimated that in the 14th century it killed around 50 million people. It is still present in some countries today.
Fleas eggs, larvae and adults can be picked up by vacuuming, however you must make sure your vacuum bag is emptied outside the house into the bin. Pets must be treated with a specific flea treatment, it must be one that has veterinary approval. i-Pest will conduct a thorough survey of your home to confirm the extent of the flea infestation. Pest control treatment will consist of a applying the appropriate product that will kill adult fleas and provide a long-lasting effect to kill larvae as they hatch from any eggs present.