The cat flea is widespread around the British Isles and is the most common of the fleas which come into contact with humans. It is found most commonly on both cats and dogs.
There are 4 stages in the development of the flea. The adult female after a meal of blood on the host cat lays 20-30 eggs daily in batches. The eggs are smooth so drop off the host onto bedding, carpets or floor.
The eggs hatch with 2-7 weeks into larvae 2mm long which live in the host’s bedding, in cracks in hard floors or in the pile in carpets, feeding on dust, skin flakes, fur, insect carcasses and flea faeces until fully grown. In around 3 weeks the larva spins a cocoon and after 2-4 weeks will emerge as an adult flea if stimulated by vibration caused by the movement of an animal or human. The newly hatched flea will then jump onto a passing host animal. When you spot fleas on your cat, it is likely there will be eggs, larvae and pupae in your home too.
In order to control fleas effectively, animals in the house and all rooms, carpets and soft furnishings need to be treated.
- Obtain flea treatments from the vet for all animals in the house to be given on a monthly basis
- Vacuum floors carpets sofas chairs rugs beds in every room and dispose of the contents in an outside bin in a sealed bag.
- Wash human’s and animal’s bedding at 60 degrees C or above the house treated
- Have the house treated by a professional pest controller. The pupae are tolerant to penetration by insecticide and still emerge some time after treatment.
Water based residual spray is used to cover all rooms in the house then followed up 2 weeks later to break the life cycle.
Word of Warning
Fleas can be spread by second hand furniture or clothing. They can all be spread on new sofas purchased from high street furniture chain shops who offer to take away their customers’ old sofas. When old sofas are taken away and stored in the firm’s warehouse awaiting disposal alongside new sofas, any fleas on them may jump ship onto new ones awaiting delivery!