What are fleas and ticks?
Fleas and ticks are both external parasitic pests that feed on the blood of warm-blooded hosts, including both people and our pets. These pests can be found all throughout the United States, though some species are more common than others. In our area, the most common flea species that we encounter is the cat flea while the most common species of ticks we deal with are blacklegged ticks, also commonly referred to as deer ticks, and Rocky Mountian wood ticks.
Fleas: These pests are wingless, but have powerful back legs that allow them to quickly jump to great heights as well as specialized spines on their mouths, legs, and backs to prevent them from falling off of their hosts; fleas are about 1/8 of an inch in length, have flat bodies, and are typically black or reddish-brown in color.
Ticks: These pests have flat, oval-shaped bodies, and, depending on their exact species, vary in color and appearance. However, these parasitic pests are typically brown, black, or orangish-red in color with distinctive markings. To feed, ticks use their specialized mouthparts to grasp the skin of their victims, pierce through it, and then insert a feeding tube into the skin to suck out blood. After consuming a blood meal, these small pests swell and expand and often become a bluish-gray color.
Are fleas and ticks dangerous?
Yes, both fleas and ticks are considered dangerous pests due to the diseases and parasites that they have the potential to spread to both people and domestic animals. However, of the two, ticks are considered much more of a threat due to the severity of the diseases that they are known to transmit.
While fleas aren't considered as dangerous as the ticks found in our area, they still pose a threat, especially to our pets. First of all, the saliva of fleas can create an allergic reaction in some individuals that can cause severely itchy dermatitis which has the potential to lead to a secondary infection that will require medical attention. If pets have a severe flea infestation, the constant feeding of those fleas can cause anemia which can be very harmful. Lastly, fleas can also infect people and pets with parasitic tapeworms.
Ticks are known for spreading a wide variety of dangerous tick-borne diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and ehrlichiosis, and more. These diseases are transmitted to their hosts as they feed and can lead to life-long health implications if not detected and treated in their early stages.
Why do I have a flea and tick problem?
Fleas and ticks are both commonly introduced onto properties by wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, squirrels, rodents, and even birds. Once on your property, they will hide out in the moist, shaded, and overgrown areas of your property until a new host, potentially you, your pets, or your children, happens by for them to attach themselves to.
If you have pets and they visit the veterinarian, a kennel, or a neighborhood park, they could come into contact with fleas and ticks and bring them back with them when they come home, introducing them onto your property or right into your home. In addition, when they invade, mice and rats often carry parasites like fleas and ticks in with them!
Where are fleas and ticks commonly found?
Ticks are most commonly found living outside in the following areas:
- In areas of tall grass
- In areas of dense vegetation
- In and around ditches
- Around pond areas
- Along fence lines
- Around the edges of wooded areas
In these areas, they lie in wait for an appropriate host to happen by that they can attach themselves to. These pests can be introduced into homes on people and pets, but most species won’t be able to thrive indoors. However, this is still a threat as if they are introduced into your home, they may be able to attach themselves to you, your family members, or your pets without you knowing which poses the danger of you or your family potentially contacting the harmful diseases that they are known to spread.
Fleas are also typically found living outdoors. These pests enjoy moist, shaded areas, much like ticks, and often find their way into homes after jumping onto people or our pets. However, these pests also regularly find their way inside homes in used furniture or rugs that are infested with flea eggs or adult fleas. Unlike ticks, fleas can live successfully inside, typically choosing to infest the areas around pet beds and the places where your pets spend most of their time.
How do I get rid of fleas and ticks?
To eliminate fleas and ticks found on your property or inside your home, it is best to partner with a pest control professional like the experts here at Aroostook Pest Control. Our dedicated experts will provide the services needed to locate and eliminate the fleas and ticks that are infesting your home or property.
Aroostook is committed to using the best products on the market to get rid of fleas, ticks, and a variety of other household pests and will work to prevent them with our guaranteed Quarterly Perimeter Service. To learn more about our flea and tick control services, contact us at Aroostook Pest Control!
How can I prevent fleas and ticks in the future?
Besides investing in quality pest protection services for your home and property, one of the best things you can do to help prevent problems with fleas and ticks is to partner with your pets' veterinarian and place them on a year-round flea and tick control program to keep your pets from carrying fleas and ticks into your home.
However, some additional ways to prevent problems with these parasitic pests include:
- Trimming back wooded areas from your property line and placing a stone barrier between any wooded areas and your lawn
- Keeping your grass cut short and trimming overgrown shrubs and landscaping on your property
- Removing bird feeders and other factors that could attract wild animals to your property
- Inspecting yourself, children and pets for ticks and fleas before coming inside after spending time outdoors
To learn more about our services and how we can help protect your property from fleas and ticks, reach out to us!