Fleas

There are 16 different families of fleas worldwide, consisting of about 2380 species. In Australia 9 of these families are represented with just 90 different species. About half of the endemic species that occur in Australia are found in the iopsyllidae family. The Pulicidae family contains many of the introduced fleas such as the cat, dog and human flea, as well as some native species

Fleas feed on a wide variety of warm-blooded vertebrates including humans, dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, ferrets, rats, mice and birds. Fleas normally specialise in one host species or group of species, but can often feed but not reproduce on other species.

In many species, fleas are principally a nuisance to their hosts, causing an itching sensation which in turn causes the host to try to remove the pest by biting, pecking or scratching. Fleas are not simply a source of annoyance, however. Flea bites cause a slightly raised, swollen itching spot to form; this has a single puncture point at the centre, like a mosquito bite. Besides this, the eczematous itchy skin disease flea allergy dermatitis is common in many host species, including dogs and cats. The bites often appear in clusters or lines of two bites, and can remain itchy and inflamed for up to several weeks afterwards. Fleas can lead to hair loss as a result of frequent scratching and biting by the animal, and can cause anemia in extreme cases.

Signs of a Flea Problem

  • Can you see fleas crawling on your pet’s coat? They are normally reddy-brown and about 2mm long.

  • Check the hind-quarters of your dog or the head and neck of your cat. These are the areas that are targeted and where you might see signs of flea activity.

  • Carefully look at your pet’s skin for fine black droppings. This is ‘flea dirt’ or adult flea faeces and looks like ground black pepper. A good way to spot it is to use a flea comb over a sheet of white paper, which makes it easier to see the small black specks. Another sign of a problem is flea dirt on pet bedding, carpets or rugs.

Why call in a professional for your flea problem?

While a wide range of do it yourself products are available for fleas, many times effective control requires a professional pest control service to gain control and prevent recurrence. A quick response at the very first signs of an infestation is often essential to control fleas in your home.

To effectively get rid of fleas and flea eggs, one should treat not only dogs, but also the household and exterior regions to eliminate eggs from bedding, grass, floor, furniture and other areas.

Treatment should be given as soon as signs of fleas appear, and repeated regularly. Delays in treating the infestation may lead to flea-transmitted diseases.

Once-a-month topical products are the most commonly used products to kill parasite infestations. They are normally applied on the back of the pet, and their advantage is they also provide protection from further infestations. Sprays are available as aerosols and pump bottles, and they are meant to be applied on all parts of the pet. Dips and rinses are also available, but they are not as common as the other such products because they are the most dangerous for the health of the pet. Also, different treatments are available for your pet from natural alternatives to chemical-based products that include topical medications and oral medications. Although common remedies provide natural options with natural ingredients such as lavender, pennyroyal, nenbuem, Amber and sweet mace, which are insect repellents, care should be used since "natural" does not always mean nontoxic.

Do I need professional flea pest control assistance?

If the fleas keep coming back, or you want to ensure complete removal, just contact our experts. Aerobeam Professional Pest Management licensed technicians know exactly what to do when it comes to getting rid of fleas in your home. They understand the habits of different types of flea and can offer the most appropriate and effective solution. All treatments used by Aerobeam Professional Pest Management are safe for your family and pet

Cat Flea

Cat Flea identification

Cat fleas are 3mm long wingless ticks, flattened from side to side with long legs enabling them to jump. They have both genal and pronotal combs (ctenidia), differentiating them from most other fleas of domestic animals.

Description

Cat fleas are often unable to determine whether a host is suitable until it has been bitten. If it is deemed unsuitable, the flea soon drops off.

Cat fleas nest where the host is in its usual resting place, for example the cat basket. This is where the young often drop to mature.

Cat fleas pass through four stages of development: eggs, larva, pupa, adult. The eggs are small and white. These stages combined vary from two weeks to eight months. The adult flea is awakened by the detection of vibration of pet or human movement, pressure, heat, noise, or carbon dioxide for potential blood meals. A cat flea cannot complete its life–cycle feeding only on human blood.

Distribution
Australia-wide.
  • Cat Flea
    Cat Flea
  • Cat Flea
    Cat Flea

Dog Flea

Dog Flea identification

Adult dog fleas are 1 to 4 mm long. The legless larva is off–white and measures up to 5 mm long, The adult dog flea is brownish black in colour, but appear reddish–black after a blood meal.

Description

Adult Dog fleas feed on the blood of dogs and cats, and they occasionally bite humans. It is a carrier of the Dog Tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum, which can also affect humans.

The body is laterally flattened, which allows it to move easily through an animal’s fur. Spines project backwards from the body of the flea, which help it to hold onto the host animal during grooming. As they can jump approximately 6 inches, they can move from host to host. They can also infest garden lawns.

The fleas go through a four–stage life cycle: eggs, larvae, pupae, adult. The larvae are longer than the adults and feed on particles of dry blood, excrement, and organic substances

Distribution
Australia-wide.
  • Dog Flea
    Dog Flea

Bird Flea

Bird Flea identification

Adult bird fleas are generally brownish in colour, and 1/32"-5/16" long. The eyes as well as the antennae are apparent. Their mouth-parts are well adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood and project downwards from the head.

Description

Adult bird fleas live in bird nests. When the birds move from the nest, the adult fleas must find a new host. If the nest is reused, the pupae will hatch, mate and continue the breeding cycle. Bird fleas can multiply enormously in hen houses, breeders, batteries etc.

Bird fleas can only live for a short time indoors and only in nests. They breed during the nesting period when the host and/or young are available for regular blood meals.

Distribution
Australia-wide.
  • Bird Flea
    Bird Flea
  • Bird Flea
    Bird Flea

Bird Mite

Bird Mite identification
Bird mites are 0.5mm long. They have a soft yellow/green body and eight legs. When fully fed the body appears bright red.
Description

Bird mites feed on birds blood. They prefer warm, moist conditions. Bird mites are commmon in birds nests and poultry houses.

Bird mites are capable of reducing bird egg–laying efficiency. In severe cases it may kill young, sick or old birds.

In homes, bird mites may bite people in search of food.

Egg to adult in 7 days (under favourable conditions). Adult lives approximately 90 days.

Distribution
Australia-wide.
  • Bird Mite
    Bird Mite
  • Bird Mite
    Bird Mite
  • Bird Mite
    Bird Mite

Brown Dog Tick

Brown Dog Tick identification
Reddish–brown colour. Elongated body shape.
Description

It is found on dogs, in kennels and houses, and occasionally on wildlife, but rarely on humans. In warm areas several generations of tick can be expected per year. The most common places for attachment on dogs are those areas the animal is unable to groom easily.

The dog tick is a 3–host tick, so must change host between the 3 stages of growth (larva, nymph and adult). They require only three blood meals to complete development; once at each growth stage.

Distribution
Australia-wide.
  • Brown Dog Tick
    Brown Dog Tick
  • Brown Dog Tick
    Brown Dog Tick

Pigeon Tick

Pigeon Tick identification
Soft tick approximately 4.5mm long. The mouthparts are ventrally located and are covered by the front margin of the body so they are not visible from above. Bodies lack a scutum (a hard thickened plate) and the skin appears wrinkled and leather–like.
Description

The pigeon ticks feed at night and hide by day. They are commonly found in attics and rooms adjacent to areas where pigeons roost. Heavy infestations of these ticks can cause the death of the host pigeon.

The females feed at intervals, increasing their body weight by up to three times, then laying globular, dark brown shiny eggs in batches of 20 – 50. The larvae feed on the hosts for six to eleven days although the nymphs and adults only feed for up to 12 hours. Pigeons are the principal host but other bird species may also be fed upon. Humans may also be bitten.

Distribution
Australia-wide.
  • Pigeon Tick
    Pigeon Tick

Scabies Mite

Scabies Mite identification
These miniature creatures are only 0.1-2.0mm in length, and at adult stage have 4 pairs of legs.
Description

Mites feed in the upper epidermis of skin. The mite is conveyed by contact and from infected clothing.

The Scabies Mite only lives for around 4-6 weeks. The mite goes through the following phases: egg, larva, nymph and adult. The female lays her eggs close to the skin and the young bore into the skin.

Distribution
Australia-wide.
  • Scabies Mite
    Scabies Mite

Having trouble with fleas?

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