6 April 2023
By Tom Collins
Rentokil warns public to be on lookout for fleas as we enter warmer period
30th March 2023: Rentokil, Ireland’s leading pest control provider, is warning the public to be aware of fleas as we enter the warmer spring and summer months, as this is when the insects typically become more active and multiply in numbers as they breed. Adult fleas feed solely on blood and their bites can cause itching and discomfort, particularly for animals.
The top four counties which have accounted for the most callouts for fleas from September 2022 until February 2023 Waterford (which accounted for 13% of total callouts); Kerry (10%); Dublin (10%); and Cork (4%).
Fleas are typically carried into homes by pet cats and dogs and can be transferred to humans when the insects jump from pets to carpets or furniture. Flea bites on humans usually occur on lower areas such as legs and feet, and infants are particularly vulnerable due to the time they spend playing on carpets and rugs. Children also tend to be more sensitive than adults to being bitten. Pets typically suffer from flea bites more acutely and can also develop allergies to flea saliva.
Once on a host, a female flea is capable of producing more than 25 eggs a day, which will fall off the host animal along with flea faeces. Depending on temperature these eggs can develop into an adult flea in a little as 14 days, allowing an infestation to spread quickly.
Colm Moore, Area Technical Manager with Rentokil comments: “Fleas will start to become more common over the coming months as their activity increases in warmer temperatures. It is important that members of the public are aware of this and take steps to guard against infestation becoming estblished.
Steps people can take to help prevent the presence of fleas in their home include:
Vacuum your floors and soft furnishings regularly and thoroughly and empty your vacuum cleaner carefully either directly into an outside bin or into a securely sealed bag.
Eliminate clutter on your premises.
Wild animals such as foxes, rabbits, rodents and deer often carry fleas – so when your pets are outside, they can easily pick up these fleas and bring them back therefore, groom your pets regularly with a flea comb and wash pet bedding weekly, ideally at above 50°C.
If your pet is scratching or biting its fur, you should talk to your vet. They can recommend the best flea sprays or powders to use to treat your pet.
When moving into a new home inspect carpets and flooring carefully for signs of eggs or ‘flea dirt’. If the previous owners had pets the flea larvae might be waiting for you.
Members of the public can find out more about fleas, including how to identify them and deter their presence on the Rentokil website.”