Fleas have, at some point, been the bane of every pet owner’s life BUT they don’t just affect homes with pets. Once a single flea is transported in to your home – either by a pet or on clothes, bags etc. – it can quickly take hold.
A nuisance that can deliver a very itchy bite, fleas need the correct treatment in order to be effectively removed from a home or property…
- 1 flea will lay 25 eggs a day – that’s around 800 in its lifetime
- From egg to adult will take anything from 18 to 26 days, the speed of change being affected by temperature (the warmer the conditions, the quicker the cycle)
- Fleas lay eggs on their host, usually an animal
- The majority of fleas, around 90 – 95%, are cat fleas
- The use of insecticides and the incorrect use of flea treatments for pets are thought to have contributed to the infestations occurring more frequently
Fleas in the home – but no pets!
Fleas can infest homes where there are no pets present. In the summer months, fleas can survive outside and be carried in to your home or property on clothing or bags, for example. Many people also find they inherit a flea problem when moving in to vacant properties and even if the eggs are dormant, the increase in temperature and the availability of a host can wake the slumbering flea…
Flea infestations are treated with the correct application of a professional-grade insecticide, if you employ the services of a professional pest controller. Before this treatment is applied, the house will need to be extensively vacuumed, with the contents of the vacuum emptied immediately.
Fish tanks will need covering, and foodstuffs also securely wrapped and stored. Pets will also need removing from the home for a short time, and not allowed back until the property has been ventilated after treatment. However, any pets will also need treating – on the same day! – and you should seek advice from your vet as to the correct treatment and application.
Some treatments have specific instructions after treatment; for example, in some cases, the residual effect of the treatment, in order for it to be fully effective, needs to left for up to 2 weeks – this means no vacuuming or cleaning, in some cases!
This is because eggs hatch and develop and can cause an infestation within 14 days of treatment; the insecticide, if it remains in place, will kill these hatching fleas. But, if you find fleas 4 weeks after the initial treatment, a further treatment may be required – of both the home and any pets.
Not always an easy process…
Many people are embarrassed to ‘admit’ to a flea infestation and, as a result, will try to deal with the situation themselves with shop bought remedies and insecticides. If caught early enough, this can work, especially if pets are treated etc. however, fleas are hardy and can remain dormant for some time.
You may find that to be completely flea-free may take one or two treatments, followed by appropriate timed deep cleaning and keeping an eye on pets; they are, after all the main host for fleas.