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How to get rid of fleas

Information, facts and resources to help you deal with an infestation of fleas and, if the worst happens, how to destroy the fleas and prevent this household pests return.


Fleas

What does a Flea look like?

flea

Flea

scan of flea

An Electron Microscope Scan of a Flea

Flea Description

  • Adult fleas are normally 1- 4mm long, brownish in colour, without wings but with powerful legs adapted for jumping.

  • Fleas are small insects, extremely thin from side to side, and are active jumpers.

  • Fleas are flat-bodied parasites.

  • Female fleas can live up to two years, during which time they can lay as many as 1000 eggs each.

Where do Fleas live?

  • Adult fleas live exclusively as parasites of warm blooded animals.

  • The females lay their eggs close to or on the infested animal.

  • Wall to wall carpeting and soft furnishings provide a relatively undisturbed environment for fleas to develop.

  • They can also live in cracks and crevices in bare floors.

  • The female flea lays several hundred eggs at a time in chairs, rugs, or carpeting.

  • Immature fleas live in carpets, behind baseboards, and in cracks and crevices.

  • Adult fleas are also carried by wild animals and pets (cats and dogs).

  • Indoor infestations usually are associated with pets. Inspect pets frequently for fleas.

What are the signs of Flea infestation?

  • Sightings of Fleas.

  • Bites and itching.

  • Animals and pets constantly scratching.

  • Indoor infestations usually are associated with pets. Inspect pets frequently for fleas.

What do Fleas eat?

  • Flea larvae feed on debris and adult flea droppings.

  • Adult fleas feed solely on blood.

  • Fleas consume blood and happily move between hosts.

  • Hosts for fleas include people, cats, dogs, and other warm-blooded animals.

Why must Fleas be controlled?

  • Disease Transmission. Fleas are not thought to transmit any serious illnesses to humans.

  • Fleas can host tapeworms and their bites cause itching.

  • Flea Bites. Although not all people are affected by flea bites, they can cause severe irritation.

  • Fleas are a particular problem on dogs and cats that are allowed to roam at large and mingle with other dogs and cats.

How can I get rid of Fleas?

  • Hygiene. Regular cleaning, particularly with a vacuum cleaner, will help prevent the build-up of infestation of fleas by removing flea eggs and flea larvae from floors, furniture and where pets sleep.

  • Treatment of Pets. In order to achieve effective control, pets MUST also be treated with a flea product approved for veterinary use.

  • Chemical. The standard treatment for flea infested premises is the application of a residual flea insecticide, either as a powder or a liquid spray.

  • The flea insecticide is applied to all floor surfaces, AND THESE AREAS MUST NOT BE VACUUMED OR WASHED FOR AT LEAST 10 DAYS AFTER THE TREATMENT, OR LONGER IF POSSIBLE.

  • Patience. Although new adult fleas may still be emerging from cocoons up to a month after treatment, there should still be sufficient insecticide to kill them off.

  • Remember pesticides can be poisonous to children and pets. After use store container and contents away from children, or dispose of empty containers safely.

How can I prevent Fleas from returning?

  • Good hygiene.

  • Remove conditions which encourage fleas.

  • Regular cleaning, particularly with a vacuum cleaner, will help prevent the build-up of infestation of fleas by removing flea eggs and flea larvae from floors, furniture and where pets sleep.

  • Launder pet bedding regularly in strong, soapy water.

  • Thorough vacuuming, of carpet and upholstery where pets rest, removes many flea eggs and larvae.

Flea Poisons and Flea Pesticides

  • Chemical. The standard treatment for flea infested premises is the application of a residual flea insecticide, either as a powder or a liquid spray.

  • The flea insecticide is applied to all floor surfaces, AND THESE AREAS MUST NOT BE VACUUMED OR WASHED FOR AT LEAST 10 DAYS AFTER THE TREATMENT, OR LONGER IF POSSIBLE.

  • Patience. Although new adult fleas may still be emerging from cocoons up to a month after treatment, there should still be sufficient insecticide to kill them off.

  • Remember pesticides can be poisonous to children and pets. After use store container and contents away from children, or dispose of empty containers safely.

  • When using pesticides always follow the instructions on the label.

  • Infested areas of the household will generally need to be treated carpets, furniture, rugs, blankets, pillows, cushions and clothes.

  • Treat pets, use a product labelled for use on pets, consult pet store or veterinarian.

  • All major DIY stores have a selection of Flea Poisons and Flea Pesticides.

  • In order to achieve effective flea control, pets MUST also be treated with a flea product approved for veterinary use.

  • Pesticides and poisons for fleas are available from garden centres, pet stores, vetinary surgeons and hardware stores for the control of fleas. Read and follow the instructions on the product label precisely. Use only products that state on the label that it may be used to control fleas.

  • Remember, pesticides can be poisonous to children and pets. After use store container and contents away from children, or dispose of empty container safely.

The "Green Option" - Environmentally friendly control of Fleas

  • To avoid the use of pesticides and poisons hoover and vacuum thoroughly.

  • Vacuum floors, rugs, carpets, curtains, sofas, matresses, pet beds and pet blankets.

  • Follow up with a second thorough and vigorous vacuuming about ten days later to break the fleas life cycle.

  • Empty the vacuum cleaner after each episode of flea cleaning.

  • Exposing bedding, pillows, cushions and mattresses to the fresh air and sunshine for a day will kill fleas and their eggs.
  • Do the same with animal bedding.
  • Fleas can be deterred by feeding your pet brewer's yeast in powder mixed with food or by tablets.

  • Derris and pyrethrum dust are effective organic treatments for killing fleas. Sprinkle around the home on carpets and rugs.

Fleas : Household Pests

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