There are many species of flea, including the dog flea, cat flea and bird flea, which can find their way into our homes and offices causing ...
Latin Name: Ctenocephalides felis, Ctenocephalides canis, Pulex irritans
Months of Activity: January - December
Fleas are small wingless insects that live off of the blood of a variety of mammals and birds. A flea bite often causes an itching sensation, which in turn may result in the host attempting to remove the pest by biting, pecking, scratching etc.
Not just a source of annoyance, some people and animals suffer allergic reactions to flea saliva, which can remain itchy and inflamed for up to several weeks afterwards. In addition, fleas can also lead to hair loss as a result of frequent scratching and biting by the animal.
Adult fleas must feed on blood before they can be capable of reproduction. Female fleas can lay 500 eggs or more in their lifetime, which take the form of tiny white oval-shaped eggs. They are laid in batches of up to 20, which usually roll onto the ground from the host itself.
Flea larvae emerge from their eggs after around 14 days and will feed on any available organic matter such as dead insects, faeces and vegetable material. Given an adequate supply of food, the flea larvae will pupate within another 14 days and can remain in that state for a number of months.
A flea's total lifecycle can take as little as two weeks, but may be lengthened to many months if conditions are favourable. Adult fleas feed on the blood of the species to which they are adapted but cat, dog and bird fleas will often also bite humans.
Pest control of a flea infestation requires repeated application of insecticide. A flea population is unevenly distributed, with 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae and 5% adults, and so measures must be taken against each stage of the flea lifecycle.
In addition to the utilisation of a pest control company, another useful trick against fleas is to burn a floating candle in a plate of water with some cleaning agent. Fleas are attracted to the light, and of course will drown when they approach the candle.
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