Fleas are blood-sucking insects of warm-blooded mammals. The most common pest fleas in the UK are cat and dog fleas. There are fleas that infest humans, but because of better sanitation these are becoming increasingly rare.
Fleas are wingless, flat and vary in colour from greyish through to a dark mahogany. Cat fleas are the most common. The female cat flea feeds on cat blood before laying eggs. They may, however, also feed on human blood and typically will attack the lower portion of the leg, particularly at ankle level. Frequent flea bites around the waist and abdomen are a sign of a human flea infestation. The bites can give rise to the characteristic dark red spots around the area which remain irritated for one or two days.
- As the majority of flea infestations are cat fleas you will need to treat the family cats using flea powders, shampoos or collars. You will also need to treat the cats bedding and other area of the house likely to be affected.
- A professional pest control treatment usually involves the use of insecticide liquid which is sprayed mainly on the floor area. To make sure the insecticide has the full effect you mustn't vacuum or clean for a period of time (10-14 days) This method means eggs, larvae and adult fleas are soon eradicated.
- All floors and upholstered furniture should be thoroughly vacuumed to remove animal hair, debris, eggs and pupae. Particular attention should be given to pets sleeping areas. (The vacuum bag must then be disposed of in a plastic bag in an outside waste bin).
- All bed linen and clothing should be removed from infested areas and washed on the hottest wash possible.
Toys, loose articles etc should be removed from the floor so that as much of the area can be treated as possible.
Tiled, concrete, wooden floors etc should be swept and washed or vacuumed.
- Remove all children, pets and unprotected people during the treatment and ensure that aquariums are removed or covered. (Fish are particularly susceptible to insecticides). Any open food should also be covered or removed.
After the treatment
- Adults, children and pets should not be allowed back into the house until the treatment has completely dried. (Normally within a few hours in a well ventilated property).
- Do not vacuum for at least 10-14 days after the treatment. This will give the insecticide time to eliminate all stages of the infestation.
- Thoroughly clean all food preparation surfaces before use.
Flea activity may be observed for several days after the treatment. This is not unusual and may be due to newly hatched fleas that have not yet come into contact with the insecticide. These insects will eventually die but can be treated with a normal insecticide spray, (aerosol), which can be purchased from any supermarket, hardware shop or chemist.
Click on the link to the British Pest Control Association website for further information.