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  • Pest prevention appeal to vets

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    Experts in pest control are appealing for vets to help them tackle flea infestations in the homes of pet-owners.

    National trade body, The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is flagging up concerns about the parasites, and a lack of knowledge among pet-owners about the insects’ life cycle.

    It is urging vets to expand the advice they give to clients, particularly those with a recurring problem.

    Natalie Bungay, BPCA technical officer, said “We stress that people should only use products recommended by their vet when treating their animal for fleas.

    “However, we find that many people don’t understand the life cycle of these pests and, while they are quick to treat their pet, don’t always take action to eradicate fleas from the furnishings in their home.

    “As around 95 per cent of flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in the environment - not on pets – treating the animals isn’t enough to halt an infestation.”

    Natalie added: “People usually feel ashamed to find out they have a flea infestation, as fleas are often associated with dirty environments. But this is a common misconception - fleas are not picky.

    “Although a home or business that isn’t vacuumed or cleaned is more likely to provide a better environment for fleas to thrive, they will also infest clean places in their search for a warm-blooded host.

    “Either way, it is crucial to solve a flea infestation without hesitation as they can quickly get out of control.”

    In line with standard veterinary advice, BPCA recommends that people attempting to get rid of fleas in their home treat any pets with an appropriate product, followed by a thorough clean of the home, including a hot wash of pet bedding, sofa cushions and any soft furnishings which may be affected.

    And, while BPCA does offer advice to those planning a DIY treatment of fleas, the Association strongly recommends householders seek advice from a professional in the event of an infestation.

    “For any flea infestation, we would always recommend contacting a professional pest management company,” continued Natalie.

    “They are trained in flea control and will have access to a range of professional-use insecticides and tools which are not available to the public.

    “A BPCA member company will be able to treat infestations quickly and safely.

    “They can help minimise pest activity with a range of techniques and have the technical knowledge and experience to apply products in an efficient manner, while reducing risk to the environment and non-target species.

    “All BPCA members employ qualified technicians who frequently update their knowledge.”

    BPCA has produced free resources to give the inside track on the key issues, including a new guide, ‘Fretting about Fleas’ and video which are available to view at bpca.org.uk/fleas

    To find a BPCA member, use the Association’s online ‘find a pest controller tool’ at bpca.org.uk/find
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