FLEAS

(Ctenocephalides felis)
Cat Flea

Habitat

Parasitic as adults, adapted to living among the fur of the host and feeding on its blood. Will be found on soft furnishing. Larvae live on floor in bedding of host feeding mainly on faeces (droppings) of adult fleas.

Biology

Egg - larva - pupa - adult. Eggs - up to 1000 per female, 1mm, white, laid after a blood meal in small batches amongst the fur of the host. They usually drop off the host onto the floor or among bedding. Hatch in a few days. Larvae - legless, whitish up to 5mm long, thrive best in humid places in host bedding or on floor. 2-3 moults, fully grown in about 3 weeks. Pupae - in cocoon spun by larva. Normal emrgence in 2-4 weeks in response to vibration. Delayed by up to several months if not simulated. Adults - about 2mm long, brown, wingless, laterally flattened and with large hind legs for jumping.

Severity

Irritation caused by bites. Cat flea not implicated in disease transmission in UK. May cause anxiety.

Solution

Application of contact insecticide to all known harbourages, carpets, soft furnishing etc. Pet areas and blankets should be washed. Pets should be treated with veterinary recommended products only (responsibility of pet owner)

Interesting facts

A female flea can lay about 2,000 eggs over the course of its life, but is incapable of laying eggs until after its first meal.