Pest control of fleas, bedbugs and cockroaches

Information about fleas, bedbugs and cockroaches

Fleas 

Fleas are small blood sucking insects.  Fleas usually live on a pet.  You’ll need to ensue your pet is treated for fleas by your vet or using a pet flea treatment from a chemists. Fleas can’t fly but can jump up to 18 centimetres and once they land on a host they begin biting   

Common symptoms of flea bites include small red marks on your skin and intense itching. The bites are sometimes grouped together in threes. 

Flea bites generally occur on or near the: 

  • feet and lower legs 
  • waist 
  • ankles 
  • armpits 
  • elbows and knees (in the bend) 
  • other skin folds 

Flea facts 

  • One flea will lay up to 25 eggs per day (approximately 800 in its life) 
  • Fleas develop from egg to larvae to pupae to adults in 18-26 days (depending on temperature) 
  • Fleas can only lay eggs after taking blood from the host animal they are living on 
  • Approximately 90-95% of the fleas are cat fleas 
  • Flea eggs and pupae are not affected by insecticides - this last fact is very important to understand after your home has been treated 

Bedbugs 

Like fleas, bedbugs also survive on blood. They are small, reddish brown, and oval shaped. You may not see them during the day because they hide in dark places. They tend to bite people when they’re sleeping. This is because they’re attracted to your body heat and the carbon dioxide produced when you exhale. 

Bedbugs like to hide in: 

  • folds and seams in mattresses 
  • bed frames and box springs 
  • behind skirting boards, floorboards, window, door mouldings, pictures, electrical switch plates and loose wallpaper 
  • in the pleats of curtains and the upholstery of furniture 

Unlike fleas, bedbugs only come out at night. They hide in mattresses and carpets, and bite humans while they’re sleeping. Unlike fleabites, which are most commonly found around the feet and ankles, bedbugs bite the upper body. You’ll see small dark red spots on areas like your face, neck, arms, and hands. Like fleabites, these spots often pop up in a cluster or line. Bedbug bites should disappear on their own within a week or two.  

Bedbug facts 

  • Bed bugs are attracted by exhaled carbon-dioxide and body heat - not dirt 
  • Bed bugs are most active in the hour before dawn 

Cockroaches 

There are many different types of cockroach, but we generally have reports linked to German Cockroaches and Oriental Cockroaches. Once they have entered a building and conditions are to their liking, an infestation of cockroaches will establish itself quickly (they prefer humid and warm areas such as kitchens and bathrooms). 

To avoid an infestation, cockroaches must be deprived of food, water and shelter: 

  • Wash up promptly and food should be stored in sealed containers 
  • Keep surfaces clean and clear of debris 
  • Keep rubbish in lidded containers and carefully seal when disposed of 
  • Repair any leaking pipes and remove moisture or water sources 
  • Remove clutter where cockroaches might live and repair any holes and cracks in the structure of the building 
  • Remove loose paint and wallpaper 

Cockroaches are nocturnal and live in large groups, so a householder may be unaware of an infestation. If one cockroach is seen, it is almost certain there will be many more. 

When cockroaches infest a building containing more than one dwelling, the whole building must be treated to be effective. 

Cockroaches foul their environment with droppings, castings and regurgitated food. They have a characteristic unpleasant smell and the air around them may contain fragments of faeces and exoskeletons. 

Cockroaches are a source of allergens which can lead to allergic illnesses such as dermatitis, rhinitis, bronchitis and asthma. They damage and contaminate food products and other items, such as those made of paper, and can transmit pathogenic organisms such as salmonella, E. coli, staphylococcus and shigella, which can cause dysentery and gastroenteritis. 

The method of treatment depends upon the species of cockroach.