This page provides information and advice on dealing with the eradication of fleas from your home or workplace.
Whilst the type of fleas which crop up in the average British household do not tend to be disease carriers, their intensely irritating bites can make life unpleasant for people.
Fleas are also extremely hardy and show remarkable persistence.
Fortunately, there are steps which you can take to avoid your home or workplace being infected.
Fleas are persistent
Nobody likes a parasite, but the flea shows remarkable persistence. Whilst they prefer certain host animals (hence cat flea, dog flea, human flea), they are not fussy when it comes to the next meal and will hop aboard any passer-by (man or beast) for a free lunch.
Cat fleas are the most common household variety, but not owning a cat does not guarantee you immunity.
Fitted carpets and central heating provide ideal conditions for fleas to develop quickly through their life cycle. Eggs laid on the host animal readily drop off wherever the animal goes, especially where it sleeps.
The larvae (1.5mm) hatch and feed on any organic debris they can find, after which they spin a silken cocoon from which they emerge as hungry adult fleas - all of this time is in the space of 4 weeks!
Whilst cat fleas are not implicated in the transmission of disease, their intensely irritating bites demand our urgent attention!
Cat fleas will attack the lower portions of the legs, especially the ankles, but it is not uncommon for some members of the family to receive more bites than others.
Preventing an infestation
Regular cleaning/vacuuming especially around carpet edges, under furniture and anywhere pets go will help towards control by denying fleas their breeding sites.
Pet bedding should be regularly cleaned as well as any favourite chair, sofa, etc.
Allied to this, regular grooming of your cat using a flea comb will alert you to a problem before it gets out of hand, and various contact insecticides are available to treat your pet.
It is important, however, to use only approved veterinary products and to read the instructions carefully before application.
Where a problem has developed beyond this stage, you will likely require help to eliminate it. This is where a professional pest control service is required such as provided by the Council - telephone 01737 276000.
Having arranged a visit what should you do in readiness?
Preparing for a treatment - what you need to do
In order to achieve the best results, all rooms will need to be treated with insecticide; therefore floors and carpets throughout the house should be as clear as possible. Furniture does not have to be removed but anything that can be picked up off the floor should be as this will certainly help to improve the efficacy of the treatment.
Children's soft toys, clothing and bedding should be well clear of the floor otherwise spraying will not be possible in those areas (see repeat treatments).
There is no need to lift carpets as these need to be treated but it is important that you give them a thorough vacuuming beforehand as you shouldn't vacuum for at least 14 days after the treatment.
This is to allow the insecticide time to deal with any larvae or adult fleas emerging over that period. Remember also to dispose of or empty your vacuum cleaner bag following the pre-treatment vacuuming as the contents will be infested.
Where there is a family cat or dog, it is important to
treat them at the same time as your home.
Only an insecticide approved for use in domestic dwellings is ever used. Mixed with water, it is applied through a pressure sprayer onto floor surfaces and carpets. After spraying, floors should be allowed to dry thoroughly before rooms are reoccupied.
This is especially important where there are small children and/or pets in the household.
The pest control operative will take all reasonable precautions so as not to damage property and the insecticide itself is non-staining but if you have any sensitive electrical equipment, or other items of particular value or concern, you should take advice beforehand.
Where the above advice is followed it should not be necessary for any further treatment to be given.
Regular cleaning around the home and the proper care and attention of any pets should be enough to prevent re-infestation.
When treatment is unsuccessful, this is sometimes due to inadequate preparation beforehand, i.e. where floors could not be sprayed thoroughly enough because of not having been cleared sufficiently. In such cases, no guarantee can be given and any further treatment requested will only be considered upon the payment of a further fee.
Last updated : 31/07/2009