We are advising homeowners to be on the lookout for fleas in their homes, with cases of residential flea inquiries rising by 121% between July and September this year, compared with the same period in 2015. Fleas thrive in warm humid environments and Ireland’s mild and wet Autumn weather, has offered ideal breeding conditions for fleas.
The wingless bloodsuckers typically live outside but are carried into homes by pets or people, particularly those who have come into contact with wildlife such as foxes, rabbits, rodents or deer. Once they are inside, centrally-heated homes with carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture offer them optimum conditions in which to thrive.
It can be incredibly hard to detect fleas as they are barely visible to the naked eye and they hide deep in the fibres of carpets and furniture. Compounding the problem, fleas can lay dormant and undetected for months or even a year before hatching and attaching to a host. When active, a small flea problem can escalate very quickly as they breed rapidly. Some flea species can lay between 25 and 40 eggs per day.
The most common indication of a flea issue is a bite or skin irritation. Fleas most often bite people around the legs and ankles, usually with two or three bites in a row. The bites are felt immediately and can be sore for as much as a week. Fleas can also cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, transmit tapeworm and, in very rare cases, even transmit serious diseases.
Learn more about “identifying signs of fleas”
Dr Colm Moore, Area Technical Manager, Rentokil Pest Control said: “If you find fleas on your pet or are experiencing flea bites, it’s usually just the tip of the iceberg. Fleas found on the host typically only represent just 5% of the total flea population nearby. The other 95% will be in bedding, carpets and furniture.
“If you have experienced flea bites or are treating your pet for a problem, be sure to treat your home at the same time, otherwise you won’t be addressing the problem fully. With fleas lying dormant for months at a time, it can be easy to assume you have addressed the issue, only for them to resurface in the future,” Dr Moore continued.
Preventing a flea problem in the home
- Regularly wash and check your pets for fleas with a flea comb to catch a potential problem early and prevent fleas from becoming established in carpets and bedding
- Wash pet bedding weekly, ideally at temperatures above 50 degrees to kill any dormant fleas and eggs
- Vacuum floors and furniture regularly – ensuring to cover hard to reach places as fleas like to hide in cracks in floorboards and crevices
- Shake or beat rugs and pet bedding outdoors so that fleas and eggs fall off
- Consider placing pet beds in areas without carpets such as on wooden floors (but only if these are well sealed – if there are gaps between the boards this may actually make the pest much harder to treat)
- When moving into a new home inspect carpets and flooring carefully for signs of eggs or ‘flea dirt’. If the previous owners had pets the fleas might be waiting for you.
How to get rid of fleas
Although there is a range of different home remedies for fleas they are not 100% effective. Yes, they do help manage a flea problem, but they can not successfully solve one. This is mainly due to the fact that the majority of home remedies for fleas only affect the adults of the species, leaving the larvae and eggs behind. This creates a window of opportunity for another flea infestation to arise.
Professional pest control
The best way to get rid of fleas is with the help of a professional pest controller. A pest control professional can provide you with the best services and solutions to fully remove a flea infestation from your property. If you think you might have a flea problem, get in contact with Rentokil today for a FREE inspection in your home.