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The three most common species of flea are cat, dog and bird. 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.
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. Adult fleas emerge in response to vibrations made by a passing a 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.
As parasites of man, the uppermost concern about the presence of fleas come from the fact they bite!. Although not always painful, some people can have allergic reactions that can result in an uncomfortable itch or rash. Your pets could also develop allergies to flea saliva / or droppings.
Treatment and eradication can be achieved by removing the infested goods, which could be animal bedding, birds’ nests or infested imported goods.
Once removed a course of treatments using a strong residual insecticide should normally be sufficient to clear the infestation.