What are Fleas?
Fleas are small external parasites that live of the blood of mammals (pets and humans). Newly hatched fleas are small, black, aggressive and unfed. These often mistakenly referred to as ground or sand fleas. After they have had a blood meal, fleas lighten in colour and become larger.
Fleas lay eggs on the pet when the host is resting. The white eggs can then fall off the pet onto the ground, whether it is carpet or soil etc.
Small blind larvae will then emerge from the eggs. These larvae move away from the light, burrowing down into the carpet, cracks in floorboards or into the soil. They feed on protein, such as flea droppings of partly digested blood. They moult three times before forming a pupa. The larva changes into the adult in the pupa. The pupa is sticky, so it binds its surrounds to itself, becoming invisible.
In summer, a flea may be ready to hatch from the pupa about 7-14 days after it is formed, however they can remain dormant for up to 18 months.
Hatching of the flea from the pupa is triggered by nearby movement. After feeding on the host, the engorged female flea is ready to mate and lay eggs about 24 hours after hatching. She is capable of laying up to 500 eggs (27 per day) over a lifetime which may span several weeks. Ten fleas can potentially reproduce to 250,000 in only 30 days! For every flea on your pet there may be hundreds waiting to hatch!
How does the treatment work?
A flea treatment involves spraying all ground areas inside and outside of the home. It is important that all areas are treated (even if you aren’t seeing them in a particular room) because they are easily transferred and may start breeding in new untreated areas after we have been out.
Sometimes flea treatments appear to be ineffective as small black fleas are still seen after the treatment. This is because the pupae (eggs) are quite resistant to chemicals. Fleas continue to hatch because insecticides cannot penetrate the flea pupal case.
The solution for successful flea control is:
– Professional treatment of all internal and external areas of the property
– Treatment of the pet (we recommend this is completed whilst we are on site spraying, or very soon before / after our treatment)
– Some patience
- Indoors: vacuum or mop all floors, remove toys, clothes etc from the floor. Some insecticides will affect fish. Cover the fish tank and turn off the filter prior to treatment. Remove pets from the area to be treated, return them only after the treatment has dried.
- Treat the pets, advice may be sought from your Veterinarian. The use of soaps or shampoos may reduce the residual action of the treatment.
- Be patient. Even if everything has been done correctly, you will still see newly hatched fleas, usually for several weeks. Do not leave flea infested areas undisturbed movement hatches fleas.
- Do not vacuum or mop for at least seven days after treatment. This allows the eggs to hatch and make contact with the treatment.
- Leave your pet in the flea infested areasâit will attract the fleas. If the pet is removed from the infested area, fleas will continue to hatch for about six weeks just from normal human activity. Retreat your pet regularly according to the label of the on-animal flea product.
What to expect after the treatment
Fleas will be seen when an area is newly disturbed, such as when people get up in the morning or go outside. If the treatment is working, fleas will hatch, contact the treated surface (carpet or soil etc) and die within a few hours.
Treat your pets as soon as you can. You will get better results if all flea treatments environmental and on-animal are done around the same time
– DO NOT avoid flea infested areas after the treatment you will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment especially remember the spare room, shed or places where the pet likes to rest.
– If you remove the pet, flea problems may appear to be worse as you become the only potential host.
– It is best to treat before the numbers build up. There is no need to go through the discomfort of flea bites.
– Entering vacant houses will stimulate any fleas waiting to hatch. This is especially a problem with vacant rental and holiday houses.
– A good stomp around your property will encourage hatching and cause the fleas to come in contact with the chemical and die.
– If you are going on holidays, have a friend stomp through the house/yard several times while you are away, especially on the day of your return the fleas will hatch and die on the treated surfaces before you return. (You will owe your friend big time.)