The two most common fleas found in the house are the cat flea (ctenocephalides felis) and dog flea (ctenocephalides canis). Cat fleas are by the highest cause of infestations. Both types of flea will feed on any warm blooded mammal, including you!, but can’t breed without the blood of from the cat or dog.

They vary in colour from light brown to black, but are normally reddish brown. The eggs, about 0.5mm in diameter can be seen with the naked eye.

After feeding, the female flea will lay her eggs (about 4 to 8) in the fur of the animal. After a few days, they drop off the the animal into the bedding. A cats bedding may have several thousand fleas. The flea will take about four weeks from the time the egg was laid to hatching. If the conditions aren’t right, they can survive without hatching for months.

Fleas become a nuisance when they start to bite humans. Bites can cause itchiness and redness of the skin and occasionally can cause skin infection. In the 17th Century, the flea carried by rats caused the bubonic plague in Europe. Because of the length of time an egg can survive, the infestation can last for months.