Flea & Tick Identification

What are fleas & ticks?

Both fleas and ticks are external parasites and attach themselves to the outside of their host to feed. They use specialized mouthparts to bite through the skin and then suck out the blood. Some of the tick's and flea's favorite hosts include dogs, cats, raccoons, squirrels, rats, mice, other wild animals, and, unfortunately, people.

a tick crawling on a leaf in irvine california

Fleas

Fleas are a type of insect. They are wingless and move onto a host by jumping using their powerful back legs. Fleas have a hard body (flattened from side to side), protecting them from being easily squished. Only the size of a speck of dirt and a reddish-brown color, they are easy to miss.

The most common types of fleas living in our area and across the country are the cat flea and dog flea. The cat flea is the most prevalent and, despite their name, feeds on a wide variety of hosts!

Ticks

Ticks are wingless and cannot jump, so they wait for a host to brush by them to climb on. Unlike fleas, ticks are not insects; ticks are arachnids. Adults have eight legs and are wingless. In our area the most common types ticks include:

  • American dog tick
  • Brown dog tick
  • Rocky Mountain tick
  • Western blacklegged tick

Are fleas & ticks dangerous?

Fleas and ticks are both not only unwanted pests but also dangerous pests.

Many people and animals are allergic to flea saliva and, after a bite, develop itchy rashes. Excessive itching at the bite sites may lead to secondary infections, especially in children. Also, animals heavily infested with fleas may develop anemia. Itching and biting at the fleas will cause the loss of fur and the development of sores. Fleas are also able to spread parasitic tapeworms to people, pets, and wild animals.

Ticks cause more health risks to both people and animals than fleas due to the variety and seriousness of the diseases they transmit. Diseases ticks spread include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, and tularemia. Another problem associated with ticks is that if you don't remove the entire tick from the host, an infection may occur.

Why do I have a flea & tick problem?

There are several ways fleas and ticks can become a problem on your property. The most common way is via wild animals. Neighborhood pets may also introduce these unwanted intruders into your yard as they wander from property to property.

When spending time outside in wooded or grassy areas, there is always the chance you or your pet will come into contact with fleas and ticks and accidentally bring them back to your yard or home. Rodents seeking food or shelter are what often introduce fleas and ticks into our homes by carrying them inside on their backs. Fleas also move inside by hitchhiking in on used furniture or rugs.

Where will I find fleas & ticks?

Fleas and ticks both spend most of their lives on the body of an animal host.

Ticks aren't a huge threat inside our home as most species cannot breed indoors (most ticks lay their eggs in damp soil). The exception to this rule is the brown dog tick. Their eggs don't require contact with damp soil to develop and can breed indoors. Brown dog ticks can become a problem in places like homes, boarding facilities, veterinarian offices, and other indoor spaces where pets frequent.

Ticks (no matter the species) can become problematic in our outdoor spaces. When not feeding on a host, ticks hide and wait for one to come by in tall grass, along fence lines, at the edge of wooded paths, and under leaf piles.

Being able to breed indoors means both cat and dog fleas are a threat inside of our homes. In fact, you or your pet introducing even just a couple of fleas inside can quickly lead to a large scale infestation. Inside, fleas hide in rugs, upholstered furniture, bedding, between cracks in floors, and behind baseboards. Outside, fleas waiting for a host do so under piles of leaves, shrubs, woodpiles, mulch, or brush piles.

How do I get rid of fleas & ticks?

Fleas and ticks are both frustrating pests to have to deal with. If you are dealing with either, in your home or yard, Malang Pest Control can help. We will quickly come to your aid and provide customized treatment plans, targeted services, and the integrated pest management needed to control fleas and ticks.

At Malang Pest Control, we are "focused on providing the best pest control services you've ever had!" We are committed to meeting each of our customer's unique pest control needs. Reach out to Malang Pest Control and learn more about our home pest control and commercial pest control solutions!

How can I prevent fleas & ticks in the future?

Prevent fleas and ticks in the future by partnering with Malang Pest Control, and using the following prevention tips:

  • Place pets on year-round flea and tick program prescribed by their veterinarian.
  • Regularly vacuum your floors.
  • If you own a pet, routinely wash their bedding.
  • Maintain your lawn. Keep grass cut short, landscaping well-groomed, and cut back overgrown shrubs and trees.
  • Cut any wooded areas back away from your property line.
  • Remove brush piles, woodpiles, and other debris from your property where fleas and ticks can hide.
  • Rake up and remove leaves from your yard, a favorite hiding spot for both fleas and ticks.
  • When walking in wooded or tall grassy areas, make sure to stay in the center of the trail.
  • Use a fence or leash to keep your pets on your property and stop them from wandering into areas infested with fleas and ticks.
 
 

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