Fleas

There are many species of flea in the UK the most notable of which are the Cat Flea [Ctenocephalides felis] and the Dog Flea [Ctenocephalides canis].

They are blood sucking parasites of warm blooded animals. Despite their names the Cat and Dog Flea will readily bite humans.

Cat Fleas are most commonly the cause of flea bites in humans. They have highly developed hind legs enabling them to jump long distances when necessary. They are known vectors of disease and can also transmit tapeworms.

Their bites can cause severe irritation. Scratching can lead to secondary infection. Eggs are laid in fur, feathers or the bedding of the host and hatch in 2-6 days. The larvae which demerge from the eggs feed on blood from faecal matter of the adult fleas.

Larvae avoid light and seek areas of higher humidity prior to pupating. The adult flea may remain within the pupa (cocoon) for many weeks often emerging in response to warmth and vibration.

In warm conditions they generally feed daily but can diapause (hibernate) if conditions deteriorate or no host is available. Adult fleas live approx 3 months normally but can survive much longer when starved or where temperatures are low.

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