Dog scratching fleas

Fleas feed on the blood of humans and other animals and can transmit diseases such as typhus to humans.

Most fleas bite people on the legs and ankles. Flea bites are intensely itchy and secondary infections from scratching are common.

Female fleas lay their eggs in areas frequented by their hosts. The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed on organic matter and pupate after 2-3 weeks. The adult fleas can emerge from their pupae in 1-2 weeks, but can delay emerging for weeks or even months in the absence of a suitable host.

The emergence of the adult fleas is triggered by vibrations, which explains why people are often bitten after entering a house that has been vacant for some time.

Control of fleas:

  • Thoroughly vacuum floors, carpets, rugs and other areas that may harbour eggs, larvae, pupae or adult fleas, with special attention to areas near skirting boards and used by pets for resting and sleeping
  • Treat pets using products specifically registered for flea control on animals
  • Use insecticide sprays or ‘flea bombs’ to treat affected areas, taking care to follow the label directions.

Persistent problems may need to be treated by a licensed pest controller. Licensed pest controllers are listed in the Yellow Pages under Pest Control.