October Pest of the Month: Fleas

October Pest of the Month: Fleas

Apologies in advance if reading about this month’s pest, fleas, makes you itch; the mere mention of these pests can cause irritation! The University of Bristol conducted a study named “The Big Flea Project,” which examined fleas on pets from 326 veterinary practices throughout the UK. The results were interesting, stating that 1 in 4 cats and 1 in 7 dogs carry these extremely nuisance pests. Over recent months, Urban Pest Control has received an increase in calls from customers desperately seeking treatment and advice for fleas. Since fleas thrive in moist, warm conditions, and with our weather system, it has been the perfect environment for these insects to breed.

Interesting facts about fleas:

  • Fleas are ectoparasitic insects, which means they live on the outside of an animal host.
  • There are an estimated 2,500 species of fleas in the world.
  • Fleas have been on Earth for approximately 165 million years; fossilised fleas have been discovered in Mongolia and China.
  • A flea can jump 50 times its body length.
  • Fleas carry many diseases, such as the Bubonic plague and Typhus. However, in the UK, the most problematic issue for humans is an infection from a flea bite. In pets, it may lead to an allergy to flea saliva, causing dermatitis and fur loss.
  • Fleas feed on the blood of animals and humans; their mouthparts have adapted to pierce the skin of their host and then suck the blood.
  • A female flea can feed 15 times its own body weight every day.
  • In the 16th century and again in the 1820s, fleas were entertainment and a common act in the circus
  • The flea has four stages in its life cycle:
    • Egg – Eggs can take up to two weeks to hatch; however, if the conditions are right, it may only take 1-2 days.
    • Larva – Larvae are blind and like dark places; they feed on organic matter found on their host.
    • Pupa – It takes four days for the pupa to moult to adulthood.
    • Adult – Adults can live for two months, and females will start to lay eggs within 48 hours. The number of eggs produced in a female’s lifetime varies from 100 to several thousand.

How to recognise you have a flea issue:

Fleas are a common problem in the UK, especially for households with pets. Dogs and cats are susceptible to fleas, but other pets with fur can also be a host for fleas. However, they can still cause an issue even if you don’t have a pet yourself. For example, the previous owner of your property may have been a pet owner. You may notice that your beloved furry friend may be scratching a lot more or even biting themselves, taking out bits of fur too. This is a strong indication that fleas may be present. You may also have small, raised marks on your skin, usually around your ankles, but they can be elsewhere. These will be particularly irritable and cause discomfort and itchiness.

Fleas are reddish-brown in colour, they are thin with big back legs with claws to grip onto their host’s fur. As insects, they have six legs and antennae. They are approximately 3 mm in length, which makes them difficult to see. When checking your pet for fleas, look in the areas they are itching, as well as any warm areas such as their hindquarters and around their necks, as fleas like dark, warm areas to hide.

How to prevent fleas:

Urban Pest Control understands how distressing fleas in the home or work environment can be. They are not something you wish to share with your visitors or colleagues. We always recommend vacuuming thoroughly and washing your pet’s bedding at high temperatures, as well as washing and grooming your pet. We also advise you to treat your pets with a flea treatment recommended by your vet. Thankfully, our qualified and experienced team of technicians are on hand to deliver professional flea control solutions. We recommend a minimum of two visits for treatment against fleas. We use an industry-approved insecticide spray to break the life cycle of the fleas. Using professional pest controllers like Urban Pest Control gives you peace of mind, especially with the Trading Standards Buy With Confidence and The Google Guarantee schemes, both of which we are proud to be involved with. Being qualified to RSPH level 2 in pest management allows professionals to use insecticides, ensuring all treatments carried out adhere to COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulations 2002.

Flea Control in Poole and Beyond

If you require more guidance for a flea infestation or any advice on other annoying pests in Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Dorchester, Weymouth, and the surrounding areas, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Urban Pest Control.