The most common flea species that human come into contact with is the cat flea, which despite its name is commonly found on dogs.
What do they look like?
Adult fleas are normally 1-4mm long, brownish in colour, without wings but with powerful legs adapted for jumping. Female fleas can live up to two years, during which time they can lay up to 1000 eggs each.
Where do they 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 also provide a relatively undisturbed environment for fleas to develop. They can also live in cracks and crevices in bare floors.
What do they eat?
Larvae feed on debris and adult flea droppings. Adult fleas feed solely on blood.
Fleas are not thought to transmit any serious illness in humans.
Although not all people are affected by bites, the bites produce inflamed dark red spots and can cause severe irritation in some people.
Regular cleaning, particularly with a vacuum cleaner, will help prevent the build-up of infestation by removing eggs and larvae from the floors, furniture and pets, bedding.
Treatment of pets
In order to achieve effective control, pets MUST also be treated with a product approved for veterinary use.
Residual insecticide, either as a powder or a liquid spray, should be applied to all floor surfaces. This treatment should only be undertaken by professional pest controllers.
Products for treatment of pets and homes are available from hardware stores and some DIY retailers. Care should be taken to follow the instructions on these products.