Despite their diminutive size, fleas are perhaps one of the most irritating and tricky to control of all external parasites. These fast-breeding, wingless insects feed on the blood of dogs and cats (and sometimes humans), causing discomfort and secondary skin infections, as well as increasing the risk of certain diseases.
Flea Breeding Conditions
Fleas are tough little creatures and are built to handle a range of conditions in their environment. This is one reason fleas are found all over the world and can be difficult to eradicate if high standards of hygiene and flea control procedures are not followed. The ideal conditions for flea reproduction are warm and moist environments, which is why flea infestations often seem to be worse throughout spring and summer. Studies have shown that fleas breed most quickly when humidity is approximately 70% and the temperature is in the range of 70 85". In optimum conditions like these, a single flea can complete its life-cycle in a matter of a fortnight.
The Flea Life-cycle
The flea starts its life as a microscopic flea egg, which hatches into a larva when the environmental conditions are suitable, which is sometimes weeks or months after the egg was laid. These worm-like larvae feed on organic waste such as faeces from adult fleas and shed skin cells. Flea larvae gravitate to dark spots where they will remain undisturbed, such as between floorboards, around skirting boards, in carpets and bedding. The larvae take several weeks to develop, at which point they spin a cocoon and metamorphose to their next life-stage, the adult flea. The cocoon stage can, again, last several months and the flea will emerge when the conditions are right for survival. Adult fleas are capable of breeding within hours of hatching from their cocoon, and with females laying up to 50 eggs a day, it is easy to see how an infestation can get out of control.
Where Are Fleas Breeding In Your Home?
A pet which is infested with fleas is not the only way that this tiny parasite can make its way into your home. Flea eggs and mature fleas could also be carried to your property on clothing or on furnishings, as well as other animals. Once in your home, fleas can breed almost anywhere in upholstered furniture, pet bedding, curtains, flooring and any area where your pet sleeps and plays.
Using Frontline Plus to Beat Fleas
Although fleas are annoying, with the correct flea control methods, you can prevent infestation from ever becoming a problem. If you own dogs and/or cats, giving them a regular treatment of Frontline Plus is the first step to happy, flea-free pets. Frontline Plus is a topically applied flea and tick control product which contains the pesticides fipronil and s-methoprene. The special formulation of Frontline Plus means that it is safe to use on your pets, yet quickly and efficiently eliminates fleas at all stages of their life-cycle. Apart from using Frontline Plus, it is advisable to vacuum or steam-clean your furniture and carpets often, and make sure that any bedding used by your pet is laundered to kill off any residual flea population.