Identify, Control and Prevent Flea Infestations

 

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Identify your Pests > Fleas

Insects: Fleas

Identify and Prevent Fleas


Fleas are insect pests with laterally compressed bodies, which allow them to move easily through the hairs or feathers on the host's body (or in the case of humans, under clothes).
Fleas parasite a wide variety of animals including dogs, cats, humans, chickens, rabbits, squirrels, rats, ferrets, and mice. Fleas are not just a nuisance to their hosts, but can also cause acute irritation, infection and transfer of other parasites, such as, tapeworms.
The flea bite causes an itching sensation which in turn may result in the host attempting to remove the pest by biting, pecking, scratching etc the vicinity of the parasite.
Some people and animals suffer allergic reactions to flea saliva resulting in rashes. Flea bites generally result in the formation of a slightly-raised swollen itching spot with a single puncture point at the centre. The flea bites, known as Pulicosis, have a cluster appearance or lines of two bites, and can remain itchy and inflamed for up to several weeks afterwards. Fleas can also cause hair loss because of frequent scratching and biting by the animal, and in extreme cases even lead to anaemia.

Flea morphology and life cycle

Due to being long legged insects, fleas can jump vertically up to seven inches, horizontally thirteen inches - around 200 times their own body length, making the flea the best jumper of all known animals - in comparison to body dimensions. Their body surface is tough, being able to support great pressure, polished, and covered with many hairs and short spines directed backwards, which also helps very easy motion.
The fleas larvae are small and light coloured with bristles covering their elongated body, similar to a wormís. They are without eyes, and have mouthparts adapted to chewing. While the adult flea's diet consists solely of blood, the larvae feed on various organic matter, including the faeces of mature fleas.
The flea life cycle begins when the female lays after feeding. Adult fleas first need feed on blood before getting to the reproductive stage. Eggs are laid in batches of up to 20 or so, usually on the host itself, which easily roll onto the ground. As such, areas where the host rests and sleeps become one of the primary habitats of eggs and developing fleas. The eggs take around two days to two weeks to hatch.
The larvae of fleas emerge from the eggs to feed on any available organic material such as dead insects, faeces and vegetable matter.
Due to being blind, they avoid sunlight, and prefer dark places such as sand, cracks and crevices, and bedding. In normal conditions and sufficient food supply, the fleasí larvae usually pupate within 1-2 weeks. After going through three larval stages they spin a silken cocoon and they reach adulthood after another week or two.
Fleas tend to overwinter in the larval or pupal stages and they will become active upon receiving a signal that a host is near: sounds, vibrations or even heat.

Once the flea becomes adult, its primary goal is to find blood - adult fleas must feed on blood in order to reproduce. Adult insects can survive two months to a year until they find a food source. Female fleas generally lay a minimum of 500 eggs over their life, allowing for extraordinary growth rates.


Fleas: Treatment & Prevention

Pest Control and Treatment for Fleas

A thorough Pest Risk Survey is required initially to determine the level of infestation. However, combating flea infestations requires a long time due to the fact that for each flea found on an animal there are several other insects developing in the proximity.
The animal should be treated with a suitable spot-on insecticide, such as Advantage or Frontline which will kill the fleas on the pet and in turn the pet itself will be a roving flea trap and mop up newly hatched fleas. The animals bedding must then be washed at a temperature above 50 degrees C, and the environment will then be treated with a fogger and suitable spray insecticide. Frequent vacuuming is also helpful in line with our treatment, but you must immediately dispose of the vacuum bag afterwards.

Contact your local Prokill Pest control technicians for a Free Pest Risk Survey.

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