If you are suffering from horrible flea bites you have arrived at the right spot.
We have an excellent rate of success when it comes to flea control.
Not every one with a flea infestation has pets but for those that do it’s important that you deal with the fleas on your pet using shampoos, sprays, dips, or spot-on medications as advised by your vet.
Information needed to ensure the best flea control
A commonly quoted fact but probably not exactly accurate is that for every living flea you find on your pet dog or cat there are another 99 on the way. In reality its not as bad as that; for every 5 fleas present there are probably another 50 eggs waiting to hatch, 35 larvae mooching about and 10 pupae waiting to emerge.
Adult fleas can only produce eggs after a blood feed from their host type and after having mated. The fleas eggs are small (slightly smaller than a grain of sand) white objects that are laid in the pet’s fur in bunches of about 20. A single adult female can lay about 40 eggs every day. These eggs fall from your pet as they move about, being dispersed throughout the environment according to where your pet spends their time. Eggs represent about one-half (50 percent) of the entire flea population present in an average home. So you can see how a flea infestation can suddenly take over and explode out of control.
These eggs take anywhere from two days to two weeks to develop, hatching when environmental conditions are just right for them. If temperatures are cold and dry, the eggs will take longer; if temperatures are warm and humidity levels are high, the eggs will hatch at a faster rate. Larvae then emerges as the next life stage.
The emerging larvae are blind and will avoid being out in the light. They develop over several weeks eating pre-digested blood (known as flea “dirt”) that adult fleas pass, along with any other organic debris in the environment. Flea larvae can be up to ¼-inch long and are white (almost see-through) and legless. Larvae make up about 35 percent of the flea population in the average household. In favourable conditions, the larvae will spin cocoons 5 to 20 days after hatching. This cocoon stage is the last stage before the adult flea emerges. The cocoon protects the pupae for several days or weeks before the adult flea emerges. If environmental conditions are not right for emergence, the cocoon can protect the developing flea for months, and in some cases, years. These cocoons have a sticky outer coating that allows them to hide deep in the carpeting and not be easily removed by light vacuuming or sweeping. The cocoon also protect the developing adults from insecticides.
The adult flea will not emerge from the cocoon until the presence of a potential host is made obvious – by vibrations, rising levels of carbon dioxide, and body heat. This may be triggered by your pet walking by, or people moving around the house, triggering the flea to emerge from its cocoon to feed. Once a flea has emerged from the cocoon, it will need to begin feeding from a host within a few hours. Shortly after the first meal, adult fleas will breed and begin laying eggs within a few days. Female fleas are not able to lay eggs until they obtain a blood meal.
New adult fleas have a flat bodied appearance and are very small and dark in color. Once they have had a chance to feed off your pet, they will become larger and lighter in color, taking on the more recognizable flea shape. Adult fleas account for less than 5 percent of the entire flea population in a home. They spend the majority of their time living on the host while they feed, breed, and lay eggs, and can live anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months on the host animal.
Thru our knowledge of the flea life cycle its possible to get on top off and eliminate a flea infestation. Firstly your pet needs to be treated appropriately, secondly the environment needs to be dealt with appropriately. Before any pest controller can carry out a treatment they need to see proof of the flea infestation, the best possible proof is a sample of a flea. Unfortunately flea bites are not really a proper form of proof as they could be as a result of some other pest type, or from some other location misdiagnosed as being at your property.
Ideally we need you to catch a flea on a piece of clear tape, a glue board or in some soapy water so that we can identify it. This helps a lot as it can often be difficult to find a flea after it has been cleaned properly, in which case we install a couple of flea traps to catch a flea for proof, however this does delay the carrying out of the flea control treatment.
For the greatest chance of success the property needs to be vacuumed thoroughly before treatment, the vacuum waste bag then needs to be removed and sealed in a bag for disposal after vacuuming has been completed. In the meantime the pets bedding needs to be thoroughly washed in soapy water on a high temperature (to remove eggs, larvae, and pupae) and preferably hot air dried at 60 centigrade for 30 minutes or more to kill anything remaining.
Flea Treatment and fumigation
Areas identified for an insecticide treatment should then be treated with a course residual insecticide spray, and if finances allow, the use of a ULV machine will assist in flushing any active fleas not dealt with into the insecticide. The benefit of the additional ULV treatment is that no fleas are normally observed immediately post treatment. In addition to the ULV treatment it is recommended that the heating be turned on/up while the insecticide treatment dries to encourage as many pupae to emerge as soon as possible.
Unfortunately there is little that can be done out in the garden in the way of flea control, but if you use a vehicle to move your pets about do let us know so that we can carry out flea control there too, if necessary.
Flea Allergies and effects
Flea saliva is considered to be one of the most allergenic substances; it can cause a skin disease in pets known as Flea Allergic Dermatitis (FAD). In very large flea infestations the flea bites can cause anaemia in puppies and kittens or even death if the infestation is of sufficient size.
The most obvious sign of fleas is that your pet is continuously scratching, you should also be able to see them in the fur of your pets, especially if you use a flea comb. Fleas are dark brown in colour and between 1 & 2mm long, you will normally also find tiny black specks of flea dirt on your pet just under their fur.
The height of the summer is when fleas are most rife; however they can be just as bad in the winter if you have a warm central heated home. Winter time is the best time to de-flea your pet and just before the beginning of the summer. A continuous de-fleaing of your pet will keep them to a minimum.
Fleas have an incredible ability of being able to jump up to 150mm high (6″), which is why most flea bites on an adult will be concentrated on the feet and lower leg; children and babies playing on the carpet can be bitten all over. The bites themselves don’t hurt, but they can become swollen and feel itchy., finally becoming septic because of the need to scratch them.
No Pets but Flea Infestation
For those of you that don’t have pets you can pick up fleas from offices, generally in this instance the infestation should be easy to deal with bearing in mind that the flea needs to feed off its host type and unless they are human/pig fleas (most unlikely) they will not be able to produce offspring. The fleas will be arriving in the office on the clothing off someone living in a flea infested property, ideally they should be encouraged to get some assistance for a proper flea control treatment and advice.
Alternatively if you have recently moved into a new home, bear in mind that fleas can survive for years until the conditions become ideal for them to emerge from pupation, these conditions may arise from the heat in the property being turned up, previously scarcely used rooms becoming occupied, removal of carpet/lino and general refurbishment. In these situations a flea control treatment should resolve the problem effectively.