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Do Fleas Fly? Separating Flea Facts and Fiction

It seems like misinformation and fake news is everywhere nowadays, making it hard to know who or what to believe. This can also be true of fleas and how to treat them, should you (or your pet) be unfortunate enough to cross paths with the pesky little critters.

Pet healthcare experts Bob Martin are here to debunk some common myths and separate the flea facts from the flea fiction.

Fleas are only an issue in the warmer summer months.

FICTION – This is probably the most common myth about fleas. Whilst it is true that fleas thrive in warmer weather, they are a year-round nuisance and can infest your pet (any your home!) at any time of year.

Whilst there are over 2,500 species of flea worldwide, of the 60 species found in the UK, only two actually affect dogs. Despite this, they are still the most common pet parasite in the UK.

Fleas survive by feeding on their host’s blood.

FACT – As disgusting as this fact is, it is completely true. These six-legged insects can actually can consume up to 15 times their own body weight in blood and start to feed almost immediately after hitching a ride on your furry friend.

Fleas can fly.

FICTION – Despite what you may have heard, fleas cannot fly. Infact they don’t even have wings! What they lack in aerial prowess however they more than make up for in speed and agility. Fleas can move quickly and jump incredibly high (150 times their own height!), although rarely do they jump from one pet to another. 

Fleas reproduce incredibly quickly.

FACT – Fleas love nothing more than getting busy and can lay up to 60 eggs per day, meaning a single flea on an untreated pet can lead to an infestation of 200,000 in only 4 weeks. This is why it’s so important to act quickly if you discover a flea, treating both your pet and your home.

Fleas only live on your pet

FICTION – Whilst adult fleas live on your pet to feed, they probably only make up 5% of the total infestation. Adult fleas lay their eggs on your pet’s fur which then fall off into the surrounding environment. Flea eggs look like little salt grains and lay dormant in your home before hatching into larvae, hiding away from the light in your pet’s bedding, carpets and soft furnishings.

Pupae develop from these larvae and enclose themselves in a cocoon making them harder to kill, before emerging as adult fleas and continuing the same cycle. Adult fleas can actually live on your pet for up to 2 months.

Garlic repels fleas

FICTION – Whilst there are some natural remedies that will help repel fleas, garlic is about as effective at warding off fleas as it is vampires. Not only is there no evidence to support the idea that garlic repels fleas, garlic itself can actually be quite harmful for your pet. Ditch the garlic and opt for a properly licenced treatment instead. 

Flea treatments don’t work.

FICTION – When used correctly, flea treatments are extremely effective. If used incorrectly however the performance of the product could be compromised. 

In the event of discovering a infestation, you should treat your pet with a flea tablet. These can be effective within 15 minutes and kill 100% of fleas on your pet within 24 hours. You should also treat your home, as killing the fleas on your pet isn’t enough. Remember, 95% are in your home!

That said, not all flea treatments are created equally. When choosing a home spray or a spot-on for example, ensure products contain an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) such as S-Methoprene will help prevent flea eggs and larvae developing. Eradicating an infestation is never easy and a combination of products may be needed to break the flea lifecycle.

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Take our quiz here to be entered into a draw to win a year supply of flea and tick treatment.

For more helpful advice on caring for your pet’s healthcare needs, and tips to avoid fleas on dogs head over to

Feeling social? Follow us to flea-dom on Facebook (@BobMartinUK) and Instagram (@bobmartinpets).


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