How to control fleas
Fleas are biting insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals, and can cause a great deal of irritation and discomfort. This irritation is caused by a reaction to the adult flea’s saliva, which is injected into the host’s skin to prevent blood from clotting during feeding.
Bites generally give rise to a dark red spot surrounded by a reddened area, although people react differently to bites. Many flea species are known to spread human disease. The best known example is the spread of the plague by the Oriental rat flea.
Cat fleas (the most common flea) can lay up to 1000 eggs, which go through larval and pupae stages before reaching the adult stage, up to several months later.
Once a flea infestation has been confirmed it is important to carry out a thorough treatment either yourself or by finding a reputable pest control contractor. Our pest control section can do this for a small fee.
Find out more about the cost of pest treatments
Carry out these steps to get the best results from a flea treatment.
Before the treatment -
- vacuum all floors (especially around skirting boards and angles) and upholstered furniture thoroughly to remove animal hair, debris, flea eggs and pupae. Dispose of the vacuum bag in a plastic bag or outside waste bin
- remove all loose items from the floor, such as clothing, linen and toys, so that the whole area can be treated
- sweep and wash or vacuum all tiled, concrete and wooden floors
- treat cats and dogs - and their bedding - for fleas with an insecticide recommended for this purpose. Ask a vet if you're not sure what products to use
- remove all children and pets during the treatment and make sure that aquariums and food are covered or removed
- remove and wash all bedding
The treatment -
- use a residual (long lasting) insecticide spray. Look for products containing bendiocarb or permethrin
- wear disposable gloves, eye protection and a breathing mask
- treat all carpets and floor coverings. Pay particular attention to any wall or floor angles. Also treat any soft furnishings and areas where the animals go
After the treatment -
- don't allow anyone not wearing suitable protection, children or pets back in the house until the treatment is completely dried - this normally takes a few hours in a well-ventilated property
- don't vacuum for at least 10-14 days after the treatment. This gives the insecticide time to eliminate all stages of the flea infestation
You might still notice flea activity for several days after the treatment. This may be because of newly hatched fleas that haven't come into contact with the insecticide yet. If the fleas are still active after 14 days, you may need to do a repeat treatment, following all the above steps.
For the flea treatment to be effective, make sure you treat any animals and maintain good hygiene.
Please remember that pesticides are toxic - you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions at all times.
If you have any questions about this information or would like a treatment, please contact us on 01482 300 300 or text phone 01482 300 349.
This information is also available in a downlaodable PDF -