Fleas as adults are parasites on warm blooded animals. These are known as hosts. There are lots of known species of flea but the most predominant is the cat fleas and is responsible for about 70% of all complaints. Other fleas include dog fleas, bird fleas .
Life cycle of the Cat flea:
Adult fleas feed on blood and after every feed, the female lays 4 to 8 adhesive eggs in the fur or feathers of the host or more usually in its bedding.
Cats bedding may support a flea population of 8000 pre-adult fleas and 2000 adult fleas. A single female is capable of producing up to 1000 eggs in her two year lifespan. The eggs hatch after about a week, they are then known as larvae, they feed on undigested blood and excreta left by the adults.
After 2-3 weeks of growing they begin to spin a tiny silken cocoon in which they can pupate. Three days later the cocooned larvae moult to reveal the creamy-white pupa, these pupa are capable of remaining dormant for 8 months until the vibrations of a host can be felt, they then hatch and jump towards the source of vibration, this is then the start of the life cycle all over again.
So what can we do about them? Well the best thing is to keep your pets protected all year round so that a flea problem does not get started. Any animal which goes outside at all is at risk of picking up the occasional flea. Hedgehogs and other small mammals can carry them, leaving a few in your garden. Using an effective treatment all year round is the best answer. If you do not do this and you then see fleas (this usually happens in the autumn) then it is highly likely that there are going to be masses of them living in the house, with only a tiny fraction of the population living on your pet. So if you treat your pet with a perfectly effective product one week, by the next week it might be crawling with them again. They will not be the same fleas that you saw in the previous week, just the next wave of invaders. This means that you should treat your house as well. Households where there are cats and dogs together tend to suffer the greatest flea problems, but even single cat households can be affected. It is important to treat every animal in the house, and vital to treat the house too.