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Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) Dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis)

Fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) (Ctenocephalides canis)

 


Two main species of the flea are found in the UK, the cat flea and the dog flea. The cat flea is by far the most common and is able to live and breed on both cats and dogs as well as to bite humans and other small pets. The adult flea spends a variable proportion of its time off the host, resting in the animals sleeping and bedding areas. Flea larvae feed in and around the bedding areas on dust, debris, flakes of skin and fur and dead insects. Reports of flea infestations in office buildings may sometimes be due to skin irritations caused by static charges, carpet or paper fibres or by the delayed reaction to bites obtained elsewhere.

Identification:
Adults, 1.5 - 4mm long, dark brown or black in colour and have highly developed jumping legs.

Flea eggs, 0.5 mm long, oval shaped and pearly white in colour.

Larvae, up to 5mm long, and semi-transparent white.

Biology:
Up to 20 eggs are laid after each blood meal and a single female may produce 800 – 1000 eggs during her lifetime, which may be as long as two years. The eggs hatch in about one week to give white, threadlike, legless larvae 1.5 mm long. Depending on temperature, these eggs will usually hatch within 2-16 days. The emerging larvae are active, hiding from light and feeding on dust and flea droppings. It takes between 7-10 days for each larvae to fully develop through 2-3 moults. A cocoon is spun by the larvae where they will pupate into an adult Flea Fleas will remain dormant in their pupa in unoccupied premises and will be stimulated to emerge by the vibrations set up by a passing host. This explains the occasional mass attacks which take place in deserted premises. The development cycle from egg to adult is normally completed in 4 weeks but at low temperatures will take much longer.

Control:
Pre-treatment: Flea infestations must be attacked simultaneously from a number of angles. Firstly, the adult fleas should be controlled either while transiently on the host or in its resting places around bedding, pets' baskets, carpets, sofas and chairs. The use of a vacuum cleaner may assist treatments by physically removing all stages from floors and furnishings but the bag contents should be quickly disposed of in an outside bin. Any cats and dogs should be treated for fleas with a veterinary product recommended for this purpose. Pet bedding should be destroyed or washed in hot soapy water to eliminate fleas. All articles such as clothing, toys, boxes etc., should be removed from the floor to enable the entire surface to be treated. All tiles and concrete floors should be swept and washed or vacuumed.

Treatment: All floor areas should be treated with a residual insecticide from skirting board to skirting board; a heavier treatment may be needed on thick pile carpets and uncovered floorboards. Remove pets and cover aquariums. Advise householder that pets should not be allowed back into the house until the treatment has completely dried. Advise not to vacuum for at least 14 days after the treatment to give the insecticide time to eradicate all stages of the flea infestation. Advise that due to new hatching, fleas may be seen for a few days after treatment. Ask them to wait at least 10 days before calling back.

Products to control Fleas:

Cimetrol Super (500ml)
Formulated as an oil-in-water emulsion containing a very high loading of active ingredient, it provides long-lasting and predictable residual control.

Biopren 6 EC (500ml)
Emulsifiable concentrate containing insect growth regulator (IGR), insecticide and synergist combination for control of bed bugs and fleas resistant to synthetic pyrethroids.

Mostyn Duo CS (500ml)
Mostyn Duo CS is a broad-spectrum insecticide with remarkable killing power, excellent flushing out and knock down action, with good residual activity.