The significant pest status that fleas have achieved is largely attributable to their ' biting ' (piercing and sucking) habit, which may cause mild to severe irritation or serve to transmit disease. Where a flea infestation is troublesome in domestic residences, most flea bites occur around the ankles and lower legs. Great variations in the degree if irritation exist between individuals. The irritation, which can persist for days, is due to the injection of salvia, which acts as an anticoagulant. Typically, a cluster of bites occur, and these usually develop into small red spots with little or no swelling.
Effective flea control often relies on the well-directed application of chemical and insect growth regulators, backed up by procedures that the client undertakes to help make the environment less suitable for the development of fleas. Where pet animals are concerned, their role as carriers of adult fleas should not be overlooked.