Shorrock Trichem

Biting Insects Print E-mail
Fleas (Ctenocephalides Felis)
The three most common species of flea are cat, dog and human. The adult flea of all species is similar in size and shape, reddish brown in colour and 1-8mm in length with relatively large hind limbs and a compressed body.
All fleas live exclusively as parasites on warm-blooded animals and although they have a preferred host, normally mammals, both the cat and dog flea can also be found on and feed from other animals and man. As well as being found on the host fleas can frequently be found in the hosts bedding. Cat fleas are by far the most common accounting for 75% of all flea infestations.

Flea eggs are small, oval shaped and pearl white in colour and are laid in a variety of locations such as the fur or feathers of the host or in its bedding or resting material. The eggs hatch in about one week into bristly legless larvae, approximately 1-5mm long, which thrive in dark humid places such as carpets and animal bedding. After a couple of weeks the larvae are approximately 5mm long and will begin to spin cocoons in which they pupate. This may take between two and eight weeks depending on temperature. Adult fleas emerge in response to vibrations made by a passing host. The complete life cycle will normally last four weeks but may take longer at low temperatures.

Fleas are known to carry disease and can also be responsible for the transmission of parasitic worms such as the dog tapeworm. In this country, however, fleas are not generally responsible for the spread of infection but do inflict on their host unpleasant bites. Flea bites will be seen as a tiny dark red spot surrounded by a reddened area. The bite will remain irritating for one to two days and in some cases may lead to hypersensitivity.

House Mite (Glycyphagus Domesticus)

These mites can be identified under a lens by their long hairs at the rear end. They can occur in foodstuffs but are more commonly associated with furniture or house goods that have been in a damp environment for some time. The mites feed on fungus that grow in these areas and often multiply in very large numbers.
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