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Common Name:Cat flea
Scientific Name:Ctenocephalides felis

Introduction:Cat fleas are the most common flea species that comes in contact with man. Regardless of the name "cat flea", they are commonly found on dogs and other animals. They are known for their highly discomfort and irritation after biting or feeding on a host e.g. humans and animals. They live in carpets, fur and bedding of animals. Cat fleas are found throughout Britain and the rest of the world. It is also said that they can transmit diseases.

Recognition: Cat fleas are laterally flattened and wingless and with large hind legs for jumping. Fleas are brown but reddish-black when full of blood. One way of knowing if you have fleas at home apart from being bitten, is to put white socks on both hands and hit the carpet with your hands and after two minutes they will suddenly appear on your hands. Fleas have piercing sucking mouthparts and they are readily to jump when attempting to reach a host.

Biology:Egg>Lava>Pupa>Adult. An adult cat flea is about 2mm long. Female cat fleas lay about 4 to 8 eggs after each blood meal, laying up to 1000 eggs during her lifetime. Eggs are slightly sticky but will fall off the host into the bedding area and in 2-3 days they will hatch. Eggs are oval in shape and whitish in colour and about 1mm long. Flea larvae are white, legless and will feed on a variety of materials, especially the blood rich excreta from the adult in order to complete their development. The flea larvae shed their skin 2-3 times over a period of 3 to 4 weeks. When its time for the last moults, the larvae then spins a flimsy silken cocoon with incorporate surrounding debris on its surface, which provides a camouflage. Under different conditions the development of the pupal may vary and adult fleas may emerge from the pupa stage within 30 days. The pre-emerged adult can remain in the cocoon for up to 20 weeks but will emerge from the cocoon by, increase in temperature or possibly vibrations. Adults usually begin to seek a blood meal on the second day after emergence, but can live for several months on stored body fat. Cat fleas tend to spend all of their time on the host, feeding, mating, and laying eggs, unless dislodged. Although they have a preferred host, they can survive using other animals as hosts.

Habits : Having fleas in a house or building does not necessarily mean that pets are present. Because of their jumping ability fleas can easily hitch a ride on your shoes, socks and trousers. Cat fleas may also be introduced to houses and buildings by nuisance wildlife harbouring in the attics, garden, fireplaces and beneath flooring; such wildlife include foxes, squirrels, rats etc. Fleas are typically found where animals sleep or frequent. Eggs and larvae are found in similar places where adult faecal blood accumulates which is necessary for their survival.

Potential harm: Although cat fleas are known to have transmitted diseases and parasites to human and animals in other parts of the world, the most prominent of these are Bartonella, Dipylidium caninum, murine typhus, and ape dermatitis. Dog fleas are an intermediate host of a tape worm. Cat fleas are not implicated in disease transmission in Britain.

Control: Wash and vacuum the house carpets, bed covers, sofa, and pet bedding before treatment. Vacuum bags should be discarded immediately. Pets should be professionally treated (shampooed or "dipped") for fleas by a veterinarian when the house is being treated. After treating carpet and floors, occupants are not permitted to enter the house or building floors until the treatment has completely dried. Since vacuuming can remove residual deposits, occupants should not vacuum for at least 10 to 14 days after treatment. This will help reduce the emerging fleas and call backs. Contact us today for more about pest control in London.