When the weather starts to warm up we often see flea outbreaks on our pets and in our homes. Fleas are pesky creatures, causing itchy bites to pets and people. In order to successfully rid our homes of them completely we need to understand where they live and how they reproduce.
Fleas grow from eggs to adult fleas in as little as three weeks. For every five fleas on your pet there are estimated to be another ninety-five living in your home in carpets, floorboards and soft furnishings! This may seem hard to believe, but most of the flea population are present in larval or egg form. An egg will hatch into a larvae and then turn into a cocoon stage called a pupae. It can survive like this for over a year in your home. Pupae sense vibrations from pets or people and when combined with the right temperature, will hatch into adults. The adults jump onto any passing animal or human where they bite and receive a blood meal. The females will then lay up to forty eggs a day.
We often think that applying a ‘spot on’ flea product to our pet will solve the problem completely. However, this is only killing the adult fleas that are living on our pet. In order to solve the flea infestation, we have to treat our homes as well. There are a variety of household flea treatments available that need to be sprayed around the edges of every floor in your house (even hard flooring) and in a large cross going from corner to corner. One household flea treatment from a veterinary approved product will stop flea eggs developing for 6 months. The larval stages are unaffected by any known chemical, and so it is important to vacuum each day for seven days following treatment, to ensure that any larval stages that hatch will disappear.
Keep your home flea free this summer!
Charlotte Farr is the principal veterinary surgeon at ‘The Travelling Vet’. www.travellingvet.co.uk