How To Get Rid Of Fleas
Bristol Flea Control
What Are Fleas?
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Getting rid of pet fleas with professional pest control help is becoming more important as flea populations become immune from every day shop-bought flea insecticide. The adult fleas of dogs and cats are distinctive from other insects in a variety of ways.
Fleas have four stages to their life cycle – Eggs, Larvae, Pupae and Adult – Full metamorphosis, a bit like a butterfly!
Fleas are quite small, flattened insects that are a few millimetres long, appearing brown with a distinctive dark brown or black eye on the head.
Adult fleas are ectoparasites (feeding on the outside of the host’s body), and feed on blood, siphoned as they pierce the skin of warm-blooded animals.
Backward facing hairs allow them to move quickly through the victims (hosts) hair where they stop to feed on the host’s blood.
How High Can Adult Fleas Jump?
Fleas the size of a human could jump over the Eiffel Tower!
In the picture above you can see the mighty rear legs and claws on the ends of the legs for grasping the host’s flesh, ensuring they have a firm purchase while they feed.
A fleas astonishing ability to jump 100 times its own height, allows it to easily make it onto a passing host. What’s interesting is they only jump when it’s light. Turn off the lights!
What Else Do Fleas From Dogs and Cats Feed On?
Fleas from dogs and cats have the ability to acquire a blood meal from almost any warm-blooded terrestrial mammalian host, especially in the absence of their preferred genetic host
To say “you have fleas” is quite a taboo, making it common practice for flea treatments to be completed with great secrecy. Like it or not, we still live in a society that thinks a flea-infested house is a dirty house, and this is simply not the truth.
Fortunately, effective professional insecticide treatments are managing to keep up with the fleas ability to adapt to new formulations.
A common issue is the failure of homeowners to acquire effective treatments from the vets. It’s quicker to treat your dog or cat than it is to treat your home with insecticide. A deep clean of floor surfaces with a new upright vacuum cleaner or steam cleaner on hard floors can make a massive difference to successful flea control in just a few days.
Simply put – If you want to control fleas (cat fleas and dog fleas) or a flea infestation in your home – start with deep cleaning floor surfaces.
Human fleas (Pulix irritans) are more substantial than those found on a cat or dog and we rarely encounter them.
Do Fleas Live On Humans?
Yes, humans do become part of the cat fleas life cycle! However, If you think it’s just one person in your home getting bitten, then you are likely to be wrong.
This simply means that they are not reacting to the bites in the same way, or have no allergy to them. Understanding this fact makes it more essential than ever to control a pet flea infestation before bitten skin becomes itchy blotches that get itched, scab over and scar!
Most infestations result in a select few within the home displaying the tell-tale itchy red lumps on the skin that signify a flea bite. The cat flea is by far the most common flea species found in homes, closely followed by the dog flea.
Many of those we talk to have hundreds of flea bites while others in the same building have none! Cats and dogs that come to stay for short periods have proven to cause the worst flea infestations. This is because when the pet goes home, the fleas have no alternative meal other than human hosts.
Flea treatments help get rid of fleas at all stages of the life cycle, especially the larvae that will pupate and hatch within thirty days. Pest control is an essential service to tackle or prevent mass emergences. Mass emergences of fleas in a short period of time create the prospect of spontaneous infestation events that will terrify the bravest of us.
Literally, hundreds or even thousands of fleas hatch at once. The fleas resemble a moving mass of pepper particles moving up your legs towards blood-rich exposed skin for their first blood meal. We wear protective suits but rarely treat a flea-infested home where we don’t get bitten at least once. When adult fleas need to feed – adult fleas feed!
Do Fleas Carry and Transmit Disease?
Fleas carry a variety of diseases. Diseases include the Black Death a very frightening disease still around today in some of our planets poorer countries.
Bacteria are transmitted into the tissues in the flea’s saliva with other microorganisms when they regurgitate while feeding on a new host (you).
Bitten skin gets itchy, and the scratching can cause an infection that in turn can cause permanent scarring. Fortunately, we have proven methods for controlling a flea infestation quickly, safely and efficiently.
How Do Flea Infestations Develop?
Large infestations of fleas develop while homes and premises are empty. We get called to properties each year, with frantic residents, covered in pepper from the carpet.
The pepper turns out to be hundreds of fleas emerging simultaneously from the carpets and from between floorboards, etc. So how do you get rid of fleas?
Poor pest control or neglect of effective flea control on the infested animal or pet is the primary cause of the infestation. This denial is quickly followed by a natural propensity to accept you have a flea problem or you are becoming infested.
Always make sure pet bedding is thoroughly washed and tumble dried (follow label instructions) for added knockdown of fleas, eggs, pupae and larvae. Also clean and vacuum intensively in and around areas where your pets sleep or spend sustained periods of time. Cats often rest under beds while dogs tend to sleep in less concealed areas or on sofas!
Most of the pet fleas in your home will be in the sub-adult stages of their lifecycle (eggs, larvae and pupae). This explains why deep cleaning, steaming and vacuuming floors and surfaces is so vital to success.
Vacuum cleaners vibrate and stimulate adult fleas to emerge from their pupae. The adult fleas often hatch directly into the vacuum where they can be removed outside the property.
Carbon dioxide also plays its part in stimulating a flea to hatch into occupied rooms.
Tackling the conditions that have allowed the pet fleas to become an infestation is a cheap and intensive way of achieving a high level of flea control.
Deep cleaning to remove as many flea eggs, flea larvae, flea pupae and adult fleas is the first step. It’s also pesticide-free, low cost and reduces flea bites from the adult flea population. Fleas are protected from pesticide treatment products while they remain within eggs and pupae until they hatch.
Flea Treatments In Your Home
Using flea treatments you can buy in the shops to help tackle a flea problem can have some effect but in general, are a sorry match for large infestations. Time is of the essence.
We use insecticide sprays for use on surfaces like carpets and rugs. The spray contains an IGR (insect growth regulator) that help halt these pests in their juvenile stage, immediately after they hatch as larvae. Pet flea larvae are then unable to mature into biting adult fleas from the moment the eggs hatch and save the host from being bitten again.
Other formulations also contain other complimentary pesticides that wipe the floor with the flea larvae and the adult fleas, ensuring fleas lose their ability to feed on you or your pets and other animals that might be present.
We spray around the low footfall, problem areas of your carpets and flooring. This is where the fleas larvae have the least disturbance, making these areas hot spots for flea larvae development.
Following the spray, it’s recommended that all carpets and surfaces are left to dry fully. One problem with this is that it could take several hours in cold, damp or humid conditions for surfaces to dry.
In addition, we apply fogging or fumigation to directly treat the jumping, biting fleas. This compliments the spray we apply with a residual insecticide to quickly kill larvae and adults as they hatch from eggs and pupae.
The infestation is only quickly taken care of by integrated pest control methods that include deep cleaning, fumigation, residual sprays and treatment of the affected pets and finally surveillance to ensure it has been effective.
It is common for us to see customers buying treatment products for fleas cats and dogs or for surface treatment of carpets, rugs and furniture that are very expensive but rarely work as advertised.
We routinely encounter customers spending large sums on DIY flea treatment products. Sprays from the supermarket or vet just don’t get the results they promise, unlike the products we use!
Our products are varied because every situation is slightly different. Professional products get good results in the majority of cases with minimal risk to host animals.
From experience, we know that the chemicals we use are quite simply the very best.
Sources Of Pet Fleas:
One of the big questions our customers often ask about affected homes or offices is very simply “where do they come from”
For the answer, you need to engage in a small amount of detective work.
You need to think about when you first started experiencing the symptoms of getting bitten, such as raised itchy patches on the skin or others in the same area reported seeing them or getting bitten by them.
Once you have a little bit of a timeline, you need to ask some of these questions and of course, give honest answers.
Where did I first notice Fleas or the bites?
Legs and lower arms are familiar places for fleas to feed. Adult insects prefer to bite where the skin is delicate with a good vascular supply close to the surface.
The neck is also a frequent spot to get bitten. Clothing is an excellent insulator and also provides fleas with a level of concealment.
Customers have reported that products that include tea tree oil and hydrocortisone cream worked extremely well at reducing skin inflammation and itching.
Where was I when I noticed them?
What had you been doing that day? Had you had any visitors or had anyone else in that location?
Had you been into a property or area where animals were or had been present?
Had you been to a squat or old property where an animal had been kept up to eighteen months before?
What time of day was it when I noticed them?
Was the weather hot or cold – was it day or night. Like all insects, they like warmth, and if you are the warmest thing in a cool room, then your heat signature alone will get them interested.
If the room is warm or an area is exposed to sunlight through the window glass fleas develop fast.
Heat speeds up the development time (generation time) it takes for larvae to reach maturity or developing adults in pupae to mature. Larvae are often the largest part of the lifecycle active in your home.
Where did the cat or dog get fleas get onto your pets?
Cats and some pest species are genetic hosts for their respective flea species and these fleas are common in areas of the garden where badgers and foxes rest or are active.
Fleas will wait for a suitable host to pass by. Effective wildlife control using barriers or reducing areas of cover in a garden should improve your cats chances of becoming reinfested.
Treatment of gardens and outdoor spaces against pests like fleas is unlikely to tender good results as the pesticide products are non-specific and will destroy almost every insect that becomes exposed to it.
Therefore it is best to manage areas where problem wildlife spends time rather than using pest products that may be poor value for money.