It’s spring and almost time for Easter bunny to pay a visit and for egg hunts to get into full swing. It’s worth remembering that there may be more than just chocolate eggs lurking in your home and garden… it may be a good time to go on an Easter ‘flea’ egg hunt too!
During the spring months, fleas can survive and replicate outdoors due to the warm and humid climate. Adult fleas are blood-sucking parasites that need to feed daily on their host’s blood to survive. These hosts will include wildlife such as foxes and hedgehogs, and also your cat or dog. Fleas usually stay on this host for the duration of their lifetime, which can be up to 160 days1. However, depending on your pet’s grooming habits, on average, fleas will survive for 1-3 weeks on your pet1.
After finding a host, adult female fleas will begin to lay their eggs within 24 -48 hours1 and can produce as many as 50 eggs per day1! These will roll off the host and drop into the surrounding environment, which could be a park or a garden and if it’s your own pet, then in your home too!
Under optimal conditions (e.g. warmth and humidity), flea eggs hatch out a few days later and development from egg to adult can be as quick as 14 days1! This means that during the warmer spring months flea populations can rapidly build up in the environment and flea eggs, larvae and pupae (ready to emerge from their cocoons) can be lurking undiscovered under your furniture, in your carpets, pet’s bedding and even your own bedding (if you have a furry friend that enjoys a cheeky afternoon snooze on your bed!).
After emerging, these new adult fleas will be keen for their first feed and will need to find a host quickly to avoid perishing, which could be your unsuspecting pooch or kitty curled up on a favourite rug and surrounded by eager bloodthirsty fleas.
It’s important to remember that not only do fleas cause your pet irritation but they can also pass on infections to your pet such as tapeworm. A heavy burden on an elderly or young animal can also cause anaemia from blood lost to the feeding fleas.
So, here are some handy tips to help keep your pet safe this spring and ensure there are no flea eggs hiding in your home this Easter:
ESCCAP Guideline 03 (2016) Control of Ectoparasites in Dogs and Cats
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