Fleas are a small (2mm) wingless insect, flattened side to side and reddish-brown in colour. The flea has spines that are pointed backwards and legs that enable it to jump high.
Adult fleas are parasitic on warm-blooded animals. Larval stages live in the nest of the host and feed on skin, feathers and, most importantly, the blood-rich faeces of the adult flea. When fully grown the larvae spin well camouflaged silken cocoons. When fully developed, the adult waits within this until it detects the vibrations caused by a potential host. Only then does it emerge.
The complete lifecycle of the flea takes only four weeks in the summer months. Adult fleas feed on blood. Their bites can cause intense irritation around a central bright red spot. Different people react differently to a bite, both in terms of degree of reaction and time taken to react – hence the need for flea pest control and flea treatment services.
It’s best to treat infested pets with a special veterinary aerosol, powder, shampoo or flea medication. Burn any infested bedding and spray a appropriate insecticide into all cracks and crevices. It’s good practice to also remove and destroy any old bird's nests you find the eaves or attic.
If you think there is a more serious flea infestation you will need a qualified flea control technician to remedy your situation.
COMMON SPECIES OF FLEA
The most common species in the UK are:
The Cat Flea
The Human Flea
The Bird Flea
The Dog Flea
The Cat Flea bites humans. The Human Flea and the Bird Flea are next in magnitude.
Dog fleas are less common, although other species may become briefly attached to dogs in the wait for a more favourable host.