The most common species of Flea is the Cat Flea, known for readily biting humans. The Bird Flea are next in importance, followed by the rare Dog Fleas, although other species may
become temporarily attached to dogs. Finally Human Fleas whcih are extremely rare.
Adult fleas are small (averages 2mm in size) wingless insects, with flattened and red-brown, with backwardly directed spines and legs designed for jumping.
All adult Fleas are parasitic on warm-blooded animals. The females lay their eggs after feeding on the infested animal. Female Fleas can live up to two years, during which time they can lay up to 1000 eggs. The eggs drop onto the fl oor and the animal's bedding. After several days the eggs will develop into larvae. When fully grown the larvae spin well camoufl aged 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. Th e complete lifecycle takes about a month in the summer.
Mainly active in communal rooms where pets sleep and where there is most activity. Fleas are generally found to be living on pets, in carpets, pet bedding and upholstered furniture.
Adult Fleas feed on the blood of humans and animals. The 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.
Why control Fleas?
In the UK there is little evidence that Fleas spread disease. However Flea bites can cause intense irritation around the central bright red spot. Different people react diff erently to a bite, both in terms of degree of reaction and time taken to react.