About three weeks ago, we returned a cat after cat sitting in our own house. The last couple of days we’ve noticed extremely itchy bites on ankles and arms.ive seen the odd flea as well. I didn’t notice any fleas on the cat at the time and was wondering if even after 3 weeks it even is that cat? There aren’t any other animals in the house. And how long will they stick around with no animals to bite? They seem to have no problems biting us. Can they survive on human blood,? What steps should I now take to be rid of them?
Thanks in advance.
It takes around 8 weeks for infestations to end once the host is removed or properly treated. So, if the cat had fleas, it is normal to still see them 3 weeks in. Eggs, larvae, and pupae account for 95-99% of infestations and live in the environment. They need to mature, emerge, and die before the infestation ends.
Cat fleas (C. felis) account for nearly all domestic infestations, so this is likely the species you are dealing with. They can’t survive or reproduce on human blood. The problem should resolve on its own in time. You are dealing with the last generation. The best thing you can do to speed up the process is to vacuum more regularly (a few times per week).
Human fleas (P. irritans) are a fairly rare species, but they can survive and reproduce on human blood. So it may be a good idea to identify the species (explained in next paragraph). If you’re dealing with human fleas, you may want to take further control measures, namely applying an insect growth regulator to the environment, such as Martin’s IGR. However you can find plenty of sprays with IGR in them. Look for the ingredients pyriproxyfen (Nylar) or methoprene (Precor). The IGR will prevent eggs and larvae from being able to mature, and will last 7 months indoors.
Look at this image. Cat fleas (C. felis) and dog fleas (C. canis) are in images D and E. They have dark rows of bristles on their heads called combs. Human fleas (img H) have no combs on the head, and the head is more compressed. Flea traps can be useful for capturing fleas so you can identify them.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.
I’ve had a look at one of the fleas and couldn’t tell either way which species I’m dealing with, although my money’s on cat fleas. In the meantime I’ve vaccumed the entire house to within an inch of my life and as a precaution I’ve sprayed everywhere including the couches with Bob Martin’s clear flea spray plus. I haven’t seen one since so fingers crossed I’ve sorted the problem.
Once again, thanks for the advice.