06 June 2018: Self help advice: fleas

Nobody likes fleas, they get everywhere and are hard to get rid of. In favourable conditions, one pair of breeding fleas can lead to 6000 fleas in four weeks and one female can lay up to 1000 eggs in a lifetime! They are laid on the host but can easily drop off into bedding, carpets or gaps in floorboards, making them difficult to remove.

Fleas are about 2-3mm long and have a flattened, pointed body shape which enables them to burrow easily in amongst fur, hair or feathers making them difficult to remove. They can also jump up to 22cm high!

If you come across fleas in your home, it is important that you carry out pre-treatment actions:

  • Use a vacuum cleaner to remove as many fleas as possible from all life stages, the bag contents must be quickly disposed of away from the house to avoid the fleas coming back into the house
  • Clear all floor space
  • Begin treatment of pets and the home with insecticide, sprays, flea bombs, tablets or drops

During treatment you have to make sure the rooms are vacated of people and pets. Treat your house while you treat your pet as this will greatly improve eradication.

You must not enter treated areas for 4 hours and do not vacuum areas for 14 days to allow the insecticide to work. It’s hard to kill eggs and pupae this way so you will have to wait for them to hatch before they can be completely killed by the treatment. Vacuuming too soon may stop the treatment from working.