Fleas thrive whenever and wherever humidity is above 50 percent and the temperature reaches 20 degrees C. In London, the flea season is roughly from May until October. Although there is a specific dog flea, Ctenocephalides canis, it is rare. Most dogs suffer from infestations of the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis. Human fleas, Pulex irritans, are also sometimes found on our pets. The fleas life cycle can be completed in just over two weeks in ideal circumstances but when food is scarce it can be as long as 21 months. That is why fleas problems can return even when an infested house has been uninhabited by people or other animals for well over a year. Fleas themselves are only irritants but flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), a sensitivity to flea saliva is overwhelmingly the most common skin problem that affects cats and dogs.
The Flea Life Cycle
- EGGS are laid on your pet's skin. Most are dislodged by scratching and drop off on the floor or ground.
- LARVAE hatch from eggs and live off organic debris including flea dirt, the dried droppings left in your pet’s coat by adult fleas and human skin scale. Larvae undergo three moults. With each moult the larva increases in size.
- On the third moult the larva makes a protective cocoon or PUPA. The pupal stage of the life cycle often occurs deep in carpets or amongst the organic material in the garden.
- When stimulated by heat, motion, vibration or increased carbon dioxide levels, the ADULT FLEA hatches from the pupa and jumps on the first available meal. Adult fleas live 6 to 12 months.
- Adult fleas feed every one to two days on blood from bites through your pet’s skin. A blood meal is needed before sexual activity is possible. A fertilised female lays up to 50 eggs a day. Fleas need blood meals to survive. Without blood, eventually they digest themselves!
- For every flea you find on your cat or dog, assume there are 100 more in the local environment at different stages in their life cycle.
Danger For Cats
PYRETHRINS are natural products, derived from chrysanthemums, used to kill fleas. PERMETHRINS are synthetic pyrethrins, safe on dogs but extremely toxic to cats. Never use permethrins on cats or on dogs that live with cats.
EFFECTIVE FLEA CONTROL - TREAT YOUR PET AND ITS ENVIRONMENT
- Start before the flea season begins in your area. Follow either the manufacturers or our instructions.
- If a problem already exists, treating only your pet is pointless. Most of the flea problem is in various stages of their life cycle in your pet’s environment. Treat all contact animals and the environment.
- Vacuum thoroughly before using any treatments. Dispose of the contents of the vacuum cleaner carefully. It may contain fleas in varying stages of their life cycle.
- Use flea birth control such as methoprene, lufeneron and pyriproxyfen only when there are no flea allergy dermatitis problems. If fleas are irritating your cat or dog, use a topical product such as Stronghold, Frontline or Advantage that kills fleas dead.
- Shampoos are not as effective as sprays or dips because shampoos leave little residual insecticide on your dog. Cats are not as frightened by pump sprays as by aerosol sprays.
- Wear rubber gloves when using dips or sprays
- Never used products only licenced for dogs, on cats.
Do Not Rely On:
- Ultrasonic flea collars
- Brewer's yeast
- Tea tree oil
None of these products effectively controls fleas.