We all know flea infestations can be a nightmare, and not only for our pets, so it is important to understand the lifecycle of these tiny parasitic insects in order to best prevent them breeding around your home.
Fleas are more problematic now than ever before due to the increase in household pets. They are small (2-4mm in length), brown, wingless insects with six powerful legs that enable them to jump up to 200 times their length. They are found on the skin and in the coats of dogs or cats, but also live within bedding, carpets, floorboards, long grass and any other warm, damp environments around the home. They feast on the blood of humans and mammals (mostly dogs, cats and rodents) and their incredible jumping abilities make it easy for them to transfer to their host.
A flea’s lifecycle can be broken into four stages. An adult female will lay 4-8 eggs at a time, usually on the body of its host. Eggs can take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to hatch into larva. Larvae are wormlike in appearance and feast on organic matter including adult flea faeces, dead skin and hair. After several months of development, the larvae weave a cocoon that sticks to fibres including pet hair, bedding or carpet, and enter the pupa stage. Pupae fully develop into adults inside the cocoon, emerging only once they have found a host animal (by sensing warmth, vibration and even carbon dioxide levels) and conditions are perfect (warm and humid). This lifecycle can take from as little as 5-14 days but can stretch up to twelve months if conditions are not perfect.
Fleas cause our pets a lot of health issues and can even be fatal. It is important to remember that any adult fleas you find on your pet represent a small percentage of the actual infestation problem (eggs, larva and pupa make up 95% of a flea population). Their bites cause itchiness and a red lump that can turn into a blister in a matter of days. When your pet scratches to ease discomfort, they worsen the bite zones, which can turn into sores and secondary infections. If you notice your pet scratching excessively, check them and treat them immediately. There are many over-the-counter remedies but a trip to the vet may be necessary.
In addition to treating your pet, general home hygiene is also important. Regular vacuuming, mopping, and washing of bedding in very hot water can prevent infestations from getting out of hand. It is recommended you wash your pet bedding at least once a week, and vacuum/mop your floors 2-3 times a week.
If you are a pet-owner, you should schedule in a professional flea treatment annually to prevent an outbreak during summer. We offer flea treatments in addition to our Complete Package for only $77. This involves your full house being treated internally plus an external perimeter with a full 12 month service warranty. A flea treatment done separately is $260.