Fleas are one of the most common types of pests that you’re likely to encounter anywhere in the UK. Pet owners are already familiar with these insects, spending time and money to protect their pets from being attacked.
In recent weeks, we have seen reports of super-fleas coming to the UK and we’re here to set your mind at ease: these aren’t super-fleas in the same way that makes Superman so super – they’re not indestructible and they still can’t fly. Instead, super-fleas are called that because of their ability to reproduce in numbers much higher than normal fleas as a single female can lay as many as 50 eggs per day.
Still, the increased number of their offspring means these fleas will take some more persuasion before you can be satisfied that they’re gone. Before we get into the details, let’s look at how fleas can enter your home.
How infestations start
Pets and pests
The most common way for fleas to make their way into your home is of course through your pets, if they don’t have the proper protection against them.
But there are other animals that have a much higher chance of carrying fleas – pests, such as rats and mice can harbour dangerous fleas and diseases, which were the focus of our blog post: How to inform your kids on the dangers of mice and rats , but even birds and similar pests can carry fleas. Once inside your home, the fleas can spread on, attacking your pets and even jumping to humans.
Fleas like to stay in places close to their main source of food – pets, and most pet owners like to keep their pets nearby.
This makes sofas, bedding, rugs, carpets and other furniture where the pets like to stay as prime targets for fleas.
As the pet attempts to remove the fleas, these will fall onto nearby surfaces where they will remain dormant for a long time if a sufficient host isn’t found.
What are the warning signs?
Fleas are easy to identify once they’ve invaded your home. Most likely, their first victims will be your pets, as the fleas will attempt to hide in their fur and feed from them. This produces a very obvious behaviour in pets:
- Changed behaviour in your pets, with unusual scratching or licking
- Hair loss on pets and their gums going pale
- Finding actual flees on your pets when you comb their hair
- ‘Flea dirt’, or small specs of dried blood in places your pets frequent
On humans, fleas tend to focus on the lower part of your body, as that’s the area they can most easily reach from the carpet or on the sofa. If the fleas get in your bed linen, you may find their bite marks elsewhere as well. The bite marks themselves are small, red marks that can feel irritating or itchy.
If the fleas have not yet invaded your home, there are a few things you can do to ensure they do not do so in the future.
- Thoroughly clean any second-hand furniture
- Keep your pets protected with flea collars, sprays, shampoos or other products
- Keep your home clean
- Increase the amount of sunlight to your garden and home
- Fill all cracks leading into your home that could be used by wild animals
If prevention has failed and you noticed fleas in your home or on your pets, there are steps you can take to keep a minor infestation under control.
Get friendly with the vacuum cleaner
You can remove a lot of fleas and their larvae simply by vacuuming, your furniture, rugs, floors and any other locations where you think fleas may be.
Hot water works miracles
Use a steam cleaner on all surfaces where possible. Fleas don’t survive long in water and the heat will ensure they are thoroughly gone. At the same time, be sure to wash any items of clothing, bedding and similar items that may have been infected.
Rinse & repeat
Use the combination of vacuuming, steam cleaning and liberally using your washing machine until the last signs of fleas disappear. Just make sure to protect your pets and home in the future!
If that is not enough, and you are facing a repeating infestation of fleas or super-fleas, don’t hesitate to contact us. One of our certified pest control technicians will attend to the problem as soon as possible and advise you on how to keep your home protected in the future!