Trick-or-treat! Eastern counties set for flea and tick invasion over Halloween
31/10/2020 - Bob Martin
Central heating ‘switch on’ and wet weather has created ideal breeding grounds for pesky parasites to thrive in our homes
Billions of unwanted trick-or-treaters will be paying an unwelcome visit and hibernating in our centrally-heated homes over Halloween, experts have warned.
Warmer and wetter seasons have created ideal breeding grounds for fleas and ticks and resulted in a glut of creepy critters. Fleas can easily infest our homes, and experts predict they are set to outstay their welcome over the coming winter months.
Bob Martin, one of the UK’s oldest pet-care brands, is reporting a series of mild winters in recent years has resulted in the swelling of the flea population, meaning infestations of the parasites are becoming increasingly common.
Fleas thrive in damp and humid conditions, but can’t develop below 12°C, meaning winter usually breaks their life-cycle. However, with our central heating being cranked up this month, experts are warning of a ‘perfect storm’ of infestations, which could prove problematic for both us and our pets throughout the year.
With one flea able to lay up to 50 eggs a day, Bob Martin is warning homes most at risk are those with pets which haven’t been treated with flea and tick products.
And although a thorough treatment programme is necessary to kill the flea’s life-cycle, Aurelie Gayraud, Senior Brand Manager at Bob Martin, highlights the importance of remedying the problem in Autumn, before the fleas develop into rock-hard armoured pupae and hibernate over winter.
She comments: “All pet owners should be aware that fleas can develop into armoured pupae over winter, which can be a real pain to solve. The optimal temperature for fleas is between 21°C and 29°C, which also happens to be the optimum temperature for humans too!
“Once in the home, the critters love to hop around on furniture, carpets and soft furnishings. Just one female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day, which takes just days to hatch, so a home infestation can quickly grow exponentially, easily spreading into the tens of thousands.
“The increasingly mild winters we’re having have resulted in the problem being a constant one throughout the year. After hatching, a flea will build a cocoon and develop into its pupae stage, which acts as a shield, which they can lie dormant in for months.
“Although winter would naturally kill them off, our central heating will keep them cosy until they’re ready to re-emerge in Spring. While vacuuming can help remove some of them, it’s not 100% effective – just a few fleas left behind could turn into a full-blown infestation in days.
“They’re easier to kill off when in the adult stage, but a holistic approach to eradicating fleas at every stage of its life cycle is really important. Effective flea prevention and treatment products for your pet and home are key when it comes to totally eradicating an infestation.”
Aurelie recommends pet owners should pay close attention to their pet’s itching and their fur, closely checking them for signs of ‘flea dirt’ – little brown or black spots. She recommends combing the animal over a sheet of white paper – when water is added, specks of red marks will identify that your pet has fleas.
Aurelie adds: “Prevention is certainly the first course of action. Make sure you’re regularly making use of spot-ons or flea collars for your animals. You should also check your pet’s fur regularly. Run your fingers through their coat and check primarily behind their ears, paws and around their neck.
“If you’ve identified that your pet is suffering from fleas, treatment is necessary to avoid complications and even dangerous diseases. As a first port of call, treat them with Bob Martin Clear Flea Tablets which start killing fleas within 15 minutes, available for both cats and dogs. Follow this with a Bob Martin Clear Plus Spot On treatment, which will kill both fleas and ticks and also flea eggs to break the flea life cycle.”
She concludes: “Once your dog or cat has been treated, wash your pet’s bedding over 40 degrees and spray any soft furnishings with a home Flea Spray. Our sprays at Bob Martin have a lasting effect, so they keep working for longer. Make sure to re-spray the home after a few days too in order to ensure you eradicate the problem for good!”
For more information on Bob Martin as well as tips and advice on managing fleas, ticks and worms, please visit www.bobmartin.co.uk
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