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What Are Cat Fleas?
A Cats Fleas are distinctive from other insects in some fundamental ways - Cat fleas are quite small, flattened insects that are a few millimetres long, appearing brown in colour especially once fed when they become a richer mahogany shade.
Regarding size, they are about 1.5 - 2mm long with backwards facing hairs that allow them to move quickly through the victims (hosts) hair where they feed on the hosts' blood. The other significant features are the incredible jumping range and a distinctive dark brown to black eye on the head.
In the picture above you can clearly see the powerful rear legs and claws on the ends of the legs for grasping the hosts' flesh, ensuring they have a firm purchase while feeding.
The cat flea bites on the body of the lady pictured below numbered almost 300
Cat flea bites on an adults arm.
Why Should I treat Cat Fleas?
The Cat Flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the most abundant species of flea in the UK, and its bite is the very least of your worries.
These insects might simply feed on your blood, but the reaction some of us have to the substances in flea saliva often cause us to scratch the bite site, causing the skin to scab over, and infected skin lesions to form and permanent scarring as a direct consequence.
Can Cat Fleas Bite Through Clothes?
Cat fleas can bite, but, because of their size are unlikely to bite through clothing. We have seen no instances where fleas have bitten through the material. Much of the time, they crawl under clothes and feed covertly out of sight.
What Are The Symptoms of Flea Bites?
Once a person (host) is bitten, a cocktail of microorganisms and foreign proteins pass into the blood-stream and skin tissue.
A small number of people are highly sensitive or allergic to flea bites, while others show no adverse reactions. For those people with a flea bite allergy, the symptoms are broadly similar.
First, the skin begins to swell as the body responds, and within minutes the area becomes inflamed and itchy. As time passes, the urge to scratch becomes increasingly unbearable, and a humans nails quickly cut away the top layer of skin that sometimes blisters.
Days rapidly pass and the bites intense itching fades, but the scarring from damaged skin can last a lifetime. Although you can buy products intended to ease flea bite irritation, few work well. The best solution for flea bites is to exterminate the fleas and manage their source.
What happens if you swallow a flea?
Probably nothing - but suppose you are a child and your digestive system is not so robust as a healthy adult - guess what's coming in with the infected flea? You likely thought disease, but it's the developing stages of an 18inch long tape worm called a cucumber worm (Dipylidium caninum).
Freaked out yet, you should be. These insects have some amazing traits, but they always come with a warning, because it's often the children or other vulnerable people in your home that are at the greatest risk from flea-borne parasitic, viral and bacterial infection.
Products used to control dangerous parasites carried and spread by cats include popular brands like FRONTLINE for Cat Fleas, Droncit for Tapeworms and Indorex Flea Spray for your home, etc. Technology is also catching up with innovations like the pesticide free, Electronic Flea Comb that's safe for both adult cats and kittens.
Infection associated with flea bites is not common but becomes more likely in premises where fleas are only partially controlled if at all.
Flea bombs and room foggers are a very fast and simple way of controlling large populations of adult fleas quickly but work best in association with previously mentioned products that tackle the lifecycle of the flea as a whole.
Partial control is a very common problem and the costs of doing a little every so often, very often profoundly surpasses the costs of a professional treatment like ours that uses the very best approach with the very safest and advanced control methodology.
Pest Control Treatments For The Cat Flea
Large Cat Flea infestations quickly develop while your home is empty and we get called to customers every year who have returned home after a trip to become covered in pepper from the carpet or in other words hundreds of them all emerging from the floors etc, simultaneously.
The flea's astonishing ability to jump 100 times its own height allows it to easily make it onto a passing host (you or your pet cat). What's interesting is they only jump when it's light.
What you will see when they get onto you is they quickly crawl up your legs and get under your clothing to feed.
If you have a car then they can infest your car, and being in a confined space with biting insects, means you will wake the next day to find dozens of bites on your legs. You can't see them feeding on you when you are driving!
What Pest Control Treatments Can You Use?
Fumigation or ULV treatment offers a very quick knock-down of the adult fleas, but provides virtually no residual control, so you pay to "control fleas in the moment" and nothing more. This is because fumigants do little to disrupt the flea's lifecycle.
fumigants do however penetrate most of the nooks and crannies that are commonly found in homes and will get into all the hard to reach areas in cluttered rooms.
Residual spray - this kills very quickly but can't be used on delicate materials especially those that will be damaged by water. The spray should contain a residual insecticide that will provide killing power for months and should also contain an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) to break the flea lifecycle.
In short - if you use one method it is a toss-up between temporary relief or prolonged suffering for about four weeks.
But if you want it sorted fast then you need to employ the combined power of both.
The products you can buy in the shops are effective but in general are a sorry match for the for large infestations that are only quickly taken care of by integrated methods that include both fumigation and professional strength residual sprays.
Common Sources of Cat Fleas:
One of the big questions our customers often ask about fleas affecting their homes or offices is very simply "Where do fleas come from"?
For the answer, you need to engage in a small amount of detective work.
You need to think when you first started experiencing the symptoms of bites, such as raised itchy patches on the skin or others in the same area reported seeing them or getting bitten by them.
Once you have a little bit of a time line you need to ask some of these questions and of course, give honest answers.
Where did I first notice them or the flea bites on my body?
The legs and lower arms are familiar places especially where the skin is delicate with a good vascular supply close to the surface. The neck is also a common spot to get bitten. Clothing is a great insulator and also provides fleas with a level of concealment.
Where was I when I noticed them?
What had you been doing that day? Had you had any visitors or had anyone else in that location? Had you been into a property or area where animals were or had been present? Had you been into a squat or old property where an animal had been kept up to eighteen months before?
You should also ask questions like "has my neighbours cat entered my car while windows were open or the roof was down"!
What time of day was it when I noticed them?
Was the weather hot or cold - was it day or night. Like all insects, they like warmth, and if you are the warmest thing in a cool room then your heat signature alone will get them interested.
If the room is warm or an area is exposed to sunlight through glass, it speeds up the development time it takes for flea larvae to reach maturity or developing adults in pupae to mature.
Do you have any pets that have not received flea treatments?
Cats and dogs are often the sources of fleas - however, you also find that rabbits and other animals that frequent your garden will also leave these little critters for you to pick up.
It is not uncommon for fleas to be present in one corner of the garden where badgers, hedgehogs or foxes are regularly seen at night or perhaps in the case of foxes, during the day.
Sadly it is often children who get bitten first as their skin is delicate and untainted with strong perfumes or aftershaves.
Pets that come into your homes and offices may also be responsible for infestations. If you have a cat flap installed without a magnetic or infrared lock, it's very common for non-resident cats to come into the property and nap on the sofas, etc.
Fleas are typically present two to three weeks after initial infestation or quicker where large numbers of adults were present on the contaminating host.
The only good news is that those fleas you eventually see are unable to reproduce without a blood meal from the respective biological host. This means that if a cat flea bites you it cannot breed, but can of course survive.
What Does A Flea Treatment Cost?
Unlike many national companies we do not charge booking or referral fees, we do not add VAT to your quoted cost or add a call out fee to your quoted treatment cost. We are local, and our local number is your guarantee that when you need help, you get through to someone who can help and not a call centre.
Because of our insect expertise ensures that our pest control services are faster and more flexible than many other providers. We are usually on site within hours or faster if it is an emergency, getting rid of flea problems quickly.
WaspKill UK - The Very Best Pest Control Extermination Advice and Solutions:
Cat Flea Bite Control Advice: Getting rid of Cat Fleas and other insects like ants, wasps and bed bugs is not as simple as many pesticide manufacturers will lead you to believe.
The chemicals or poisons on offer in supermarkets and shops often have a fraction of the effect achieved through professional products, and this means you are likely to get through many cans of treatment without actually gaining full control.
As the only Bristol Cat Flea Bite Control exterminator offering a dedicated insect control service, we can deliver solutions that are guaranteed to work.
Environmental health services, are all about understanding the pests you are trying to eliminate or prevent so you can make the environment less conducive to them.
The Wasp, for example, creates a wasp nest early in the year, so if you wanted to control wasps, you would probably guess that checking for a new wasp nest in your loft in April and May would allow you to remove a wasp nest safely before it became too large.
By understanding your pest, you are able to plan control in advance, before infestation occurs and the cost of elimination becomes high.
WaspKill UK are always here to help - so why not give us a call or visit our Pest Control Blog.