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Fleas are a common problem in UK homes, especially those with pets. You may discover a problem with fleas even if you do not have pets, if previous owners of your property kept cats or dogs. Fleas can also be carried on other (especially hairy) animals like rabbits, foxes, squirrels, rats, mice and livestock such as pigs.

As parasites, the greatest concern about the presence of fleas in your home or business comes from their bites. Although these are not painful, they can result in an uncomfortable itch or reactive rash. Your pets could also develop allergies to the flea saliva.

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Flea Species & Guides

Small and flightless insects, Fleas are external parasites that need a blood feed to lay eggs. The main flea species in the UK that can cause problems (even if you don't have pets) are Dog and Cat Fleas. Learn more about fleas appearances, lifecycles and behaviours. 

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FAQs: Fleas and flea control

  • What do fleas look like?

    Fleas are small flightless insects that can live on pets – like cats and dogs. They are normally reddy to dark brown in colour and are approximately 2-4mm long, so are just visible to the naked eye. Their bodies are flattened from side to side with long legs enabling them to jump.

  • How can you spot fleas?

    Even if you don’t see fleas, if you spot your pet scratching or biting at its fur, the problem may well be fleas. They cause a sharp pain when fleas bite and their salivary glands give off a substance that's irritating to many dogs and cats. Fleas often target the hind-quarters of your dog or the head and neck of your cat. Carefully check your pet’s skin for ‘flea dirt’ (it looks a little like fine black pepper). The specks are bits of dried adult flea faeces.

  • What is the main cause of fleas?

    What are the likely causes a flea infestation? Fleas can jump onto your pet's fur from other pets, other wildlife (especially hairy animals) like rabbits, foxes, squirrels, rats, mice and livestock such as pigs or from vegetation outside.

  • What are fleas attracted to?

    Emerging adult fleas immediately seek a blood meal, as they must feed within weeks to prevent starvation. Combinations of stimuli help the accuracy of host detection for fleas. They are attracted to body heat, vibrations, carbon dioxide produced by warm-blooded mammals, movement in air currents and shadows cast by a potential hosts as they pass. Fleas will jump in the direction of the perceived shadow. Fleas also often stay on the underbelly of animals, so are easily transferred to your carpets, rugs or soft furnishings when your pet lies down.

  • Can fleas go away on their own?

    Once fleas find a host, they stay there for the remainder of their life, only searching for another host if they are dislodged. The flea’s eggs will drop from the host animal onto surfaces when they rest (carpets, rugs, pet bedding, sofas) and the larvae develop into adults in cocoons, emerging to find a host to feed on and start the egg laying process all over again. A flea’s lifecycle can be anything from two weeks to about eight months. Once they’ve arrived fleas will not just disappear, you will need to treat your pets and your home to break the fleas lifecycle.

  • Will vacuuming get rid of fleas?

    A targeted vacuuming regime will help remove flea larvae food sources (like organic matter in carpets, bedding & furnishings) as well as adults. Fleas go through several life cycle stages, so you'll need to vacuum clean your carpets, rugs, flooring and soft furnishings every day for at least 14 days. The damaging effects of the brushes, fans and powerful air currents in vacuum cleaners combine to help eliminate the fleas. Vacuuming can also help to remove the eggs and larvae. Use hoover attachments for skirting boards, vents, floor cracks, carpet edges and room corners. Pay particular attention to areas of carpet where your pets sleep or spend a lot of time. Remember to carefully remove the contents of your Hoover outside of your property and seal it before placing it securely in an outside bin for disposal.

Rentokil’s Flea Treatments

Although fleas do not have wings, they have incredibly powerful elongated legs. These allow them to jump long distances and move easily between you and your pets, leaving behind itchy bites. Successful control requires flea treatment of both your property and your pets, if you have them.

At Rentokil, we offer safe, effective treatments for your home or business to ensure complete control of your flea infestation.
Our BPCA certified technicians understand the habits of flea species ensuring targeted treatments to get rid of all your fleas effectively.

1. Contact

Call us and we will arrange for your local team to contact you

  • Local experts
  • Calls returned within 24 hours (Mon - Fri)
  • Trustpilot Accredited

2. Survey

We will discuss your pest problem, arrange a survey if necessary, and provide a quote and recommendations

  • Appointment at a time convenient to you
  • Solutions tailored to your pest problem
  • BPCA certified

3. Treatment

Our BPCA certified technicians will come out to provide your treatment

  • Appointment at a time convenient to you
  • Tailored treatment & effective solutions offered
  • Child & pet friendly treatments

4. Aftercare

We'll continue to monitor for pests to ensure any new activity is resolved quickly

  • Pest identification & prevention advice
  • Effective & discreet solutions
  • Peace of mind
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DIY Products

DIY Flea products are most useful when dealing with a small infestation. Use our flea powders and sprays on surfaces where fleas are present, such as carpets, soft furnishings and pet bedding. If your flea problem spreads or is reoccurring you'll need professional flea control treatments to eliminate the problem.