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Flea Biology

Order: Siphonaptera
 
Fleas are a parasite which feed (in the adult stage) by sucking blood from warm blooded animals including humans. The bite may cause irritation due to the piercing of the skin and injection of an anticoagulant by the flea, which prevents blood from clotting while it is collected.
Fleas may also threaten the health of the host by transferring parasites, such as tapeworms.

While the Bubonic Plague (“Black Death”) may seem a problem of the past, it is important to remember that fleas were the vector in passing on the disease from rats to humans, which wiped out much of the human population during the Middle Ages.
 
There are 2 major common pest species found in Australia, the Cat flea – Clenocephalides felis
and the Dog flea – Clenocephalides canis. Neither of these species is host specific, however flea infestation in the home usually can be traced to infestation on domestic pets.
 
Life Cycle & Habitat:
 
Eggs are deposited in undisturbed areas such as breeding spots frequented by pets, floorboard cracks and carpet. In ideal conditions of high temperature and humidity, the flea can develop from egg to adult in 17 days and the female can lay 100 eggs in her adult life. Fleas have also adapted the ability to lay dormant in the pupa stage for long periods until conditions are suitable i.e. they can hatch when they sense the vibrations or warmth of a host. This explains why homes that have been uninhabited for several months may have large numbers of adult fleas as soon as the residents return.
 
Control of fleas:
 
Thorough house cleaning helps prevent outbreaks of fleas in dwellings, vacuuming regularly and disposing of the contents of the vacuum cleaner bag are good preventative measures. Keeping lawns mown and keeping dogs and cats free from fleas by using a recommended flea control product (consult your vet), as well as washing pet bedding regularly; are all important in maintaining a flea free home.
 
The Austrapest control method:
 
There are times when it is important to control a flea infestation quickly, for example when occupants of a home are getting bitten and the bites are getting infected, or the dog is getting sick. Sometimes when you have just returned from holiday you will find that you cannot enter your house due to the amount of jumping fleas. When the problem is this bad it will not get better unless some form of professional treatment is carried out. This is when your local Austrapest Pest Manager can help you with a treatment using a range of Synthetic Pyretroids and Insect Growth Regulators (the safest products on the market today) to control the flea infestation. Close attention is given to floor coverings such as carpets, cracks in floorboards, outdoor and sometimes even subfloor areas.
The treatment inside remains effective for several months helping eliminate all stages of the flea’s life cycle with the less detrimental effect on human health and the environment.


The Cat Flea. C/- Dept. of Medical Entomology, Westmead Hospital

Patrick treating for fleas

Lucky relaxing on her flea free grass

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Postal Address: PO Box 186, Concord Rd Concord West, NSW 2138, Australia

Phone: 1300 030 040
Email: info@austrapest.com.au

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