(Cat Flea - Ctenocephalides felis)
When adults fleas range from 1mm to 4mm (one sixth of an inch) long. They are wingless insects, dark brown in colour with famously powerful legs perfect for jumping. Although too small to see, their bodies have lots of spine like hairs which help them cling to the hairs on a host animal.
Adult fleas only live as parasites on warm-blooded animals (mammals and birds). Female fleas lay eggs either on or close to an infested animal. Floors are ideal environments for developing fleas, either wall – to - wall carpeting or in the cracks and crevices in bare floors.
Fleas feed solely on blood once they become adults. They use their piercing mouthparts to puncture the skin and then suck blood. Cat fleas prefer cats and dog fleas prefer dogs, but both can also feed on humans. Each time the female feeds she will lay up to eight eggs. These eggs will fall either onto the host or wherever the host is at the time. These flea eggs will then hatch in around ten days.
Although famously responsible for some of the most widespread and fatal epidemics in European history, fleas do not typically transmit any serious illness to humans in the UK. Some people are allergic to flea bites.