What are fleas and ticks?
Fleas and ticks are both external parasitic pests that feed on the blood of both people and animals. Fleas prefer to feed on animals while bed bugs prefer to feed on the blood of humans. Both of these pests are common here in North Carolina. While both of these pests can cause problems, of the two, ticks are a much bigger threat.
Fleas are tiny insects that are about the size of a speck of dirt. They have hard, flat bodies that are shiny and dark brownish-red in color. Fleas are wingless, but have powerful back legs that allow them to jump to great heights. Fleas also have specialized spines on their mouth, legs, and back to help them stay attached to their host.
Unlike fleas, ticks are not insects. They are arachnids, and are closely related to spiders. Ticks use their specialized mouthparts to grasp the skin of their victim, pierce it, and insert a feeding tube to suck out the blood. Deer ticks are a common species of tick that live in our area. They are small in size, their bodies are reddish-orange, and their legs are dark brown or black in color.
Are fleas and ticks dangerous?
Fleas and ticks are considered dangerous. Fleas' saliva can create an allergic reaction in some people that can cause a severely itchy dermatitis, which may lead to a secondary infection. If a pet has a severe infestation, fleas' constant feeding can cause anemia. Fleas are also responsible for infecting people and animals with parasitic tapeworm.
Ticks are responsible for spreading a wide range of diseases. Deer ticks are most commonly associated with transmitting Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by the corkscrew shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. An infected tick can pass Lyme disease to each host that it feeds on, causing the disease to quickly spread throughout an area. Untreated Lyme disease can lead to serious complications and health problems for people, pets, and wild animals.
Why do I have a flea and tick problem?
Fleas and ticks are introduced to properties by wild animals. Raccoons, squirrels, skunks, rabbits, foxes, and deer are all common hosts for both fleas and ticks. Once on your property, they remain until a new host happens by that they can attach themselves to and begin feeding on. If their new host is you, your kids, or your pets, they can then be accidentally introduced into your home. Ticks typically do not survive indoors. However, fleas will breed and feed indoors, and can become a huge problem for homeowners. In addition, if you own pets and they go to the veterinarian, the kennel, or a neighborhood park they could come into contact with fleas and ticks, bringing them back to your property and home when they return. Fleas regularly find their way inside homes in used furniture or rugs that are infested with eggs or adults.
Where will I find fleas and ticks?
Ticks prefer to live outside in tall grasses, dense vegetation, in ditches, and along ponds, fence lines, or the edges of woods. Once a suitable host brushes past them, they will crawl up its body and attach themselves to begin feeding.
Fleas live outside in shady areas and moist areas, or in sandy spots. Inside, fleas and their eggs are found in cracks of floors, behind baseboards, in upholstered furniture, in rugs, and in pet sleeping areas.
How do I get rid of fleas and ticks?
To eliminate parasitic fleas and ticks, partner with an experienced pest control professional. At Pest & Termite Consultants, we offer the modern services needed to solve your property’s flea or tick problem. Our qualified professionals provide accurate identification, cost estimates, and perform effective flea and tick treatments. To learn more about our flea and tick control services and how they can protect your Raleigh-area home from these invasive, blood-feeding pests, reach out to us!
How can I prevent fleas and ticks in the future?
To discourage fleas and ticks from choosing your home to live in, we suggest doing the following:
Place a stone barrier between wooded areas and your lawn.
Keep grass cut short.
Trim overgrown shrubs or bushes on your property.
Remove bird feeders from your property that could attract wild animals.
Don’t purchase used furniture or rugs for use within your home.
Inspect yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks and fleas after spending time outside.
Regularly vacuum areas where your pets spend most of their time.
Regularly wash pet bedding.
With the help of their veterinarian, place pets on a year-round flea and tick control program.