Adult fleas are wingless insects, generally smaller than a sesame seed, who feed on the blood of animals. Their proportionately enlarged back pair of legs gives them an extraordinary ability to jump. They hang on to our pet’s fur with their claws and use their needle-like mouth parts to bite through the skin in order to suck up blood – sometimes in quantities of up to 15 times their body weight daily!
Fleas not only cause intense irritation to you & your beloved pets, they can also transmit other nasty diseases such as tapeworm and cause anaemia in young, older or ill pets. In addition, many pets are allergic to flea-bites, also know as Flea Allergy Dermatitis, resulting in red irritated skin and hair loss.
The aim is to eliminate flea infestation on your pets as well as in their environment. This is best achieved by preventing the development of immature stages of fleas via mechanical control measures (e.g. regular vacuuming, washing both bedding and animals) and the use of products containing insect growth regulators and adultcide paracidals.
Unfortunately, due to the flea life cycle IT WILL TAKE 3 MONTHS to truely elimate a flea problem from our environment.
FACTS ABOUT FLEAS:
- Worldwide, there are about 3,000 different types of fleas, but the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the most common to be found on cats and dogs.
- Adult fleas can jump 600 times an hour. Each jump, in terms of the flea’s size, is the equivalent of a person clearing a 50-storey building.
- The record jump for a flea (usually 2-8 mm long) is 33 cm.
- In just 30 days, 25 adult female fleas can multiply to 250,000 fleas.
A BRIEF WORD ON THE FLEA LIFE CYCLE
Fleas thrive in heat & humidity and are most active in summer & autumn. Fleas do not die off during winter – their breeding rate simply slows down. They continue to lay eggs which lie dormant until the weather warms up, causing a rapid rise in flea numbers in Spring.
HOWEVER be warned, fleas can thrive during winter in heated, carpeted homes!! Left uncontrolled, these bloodsucking pests can infest not just your cat or dog, but your entire house….and you!
Fleas spend most of their lives off their host animals, hopping on only to feed. Adult fleas represent only 5% of the total flea population. The remaining 95% exist as either eggs, larvae or pupae, all of which are found in the environment around your animal. The average flea has a life span of about 100 days (longer in cool humid weather).
Eggs are laid by adult females in batches of 40-50 per day! In a lifetime each female may lay upwards of 2000 eggs. They hatch, depending upon the weather, within 3 weeks.The larvae that hatch are small and maggot-like and are found in soil, bedding, cracks between floorboards etc.
After 7-10 days they spin a cocoon and pupate. In order for the adult flea to emerge from the cocoon, there must be vibration to stimulate hatching (hence empty houses that are re-occupied can trigger a massive flea plague!).