A plague of fleas is sweeping across the nation.

Rain and a mild autumn have led to perfect breeding conditions and the vampire-like critters are hitching a ride on pets into our homes, along with ticks.

Chris Socratous, of pet firm Bob Martin, said: "We’ve seen some really unusual weather patterns across the UK in recent months.

"When you combine this with thousands of potentially first-time or inexperienced owners who welcomed a pet into their home during lockdowns, we could be facing one of the worst flea and tick seasons for years."

Experts are urging animal owners to be extra vigilant going into autumn.

Super macro close up of brown, amber colored flea, Siphonaptera on human skin. It survives as external bloodsucking parasite of mammals and birds.
Experts suggest it could be the 'worst flea and tick season' we have had for years

Mr Socratous said: "It’s important to be aware of the dangerous fleas and ticks that could be making their way into our homes if we’re not careful.

"It’s really important all pet owners keep on top of prevention and treatments and ensure they’re aware of the risks associated with infestations.

"It can be a nuisance at best or, at worst, life-threatening for you and your pet."

Cat flea
Pet owners are being warned to keep up with flea preventions and treatments

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Just 5% of the insects are found on pets – the rest are uncovered in our homes, according to experts.

It comes as pharmacists at Chemist Direct reported a jump in sales of Anthisan insect bite cream.

The British Pest Control Association recommends regularly treating pets with flea treatment and cleaning bedding, walls and floors often.