FLEAS & TICKS

 

Fleas

Cat Flea

Identification
Fleas are small, wingless insects that are flattened from side to side. These insects are usually found buried in the hair, next to the skin of mammals. When infestations are large, adult Fleas may be found in carpeting and around pet resting areas. Fleas are covered with many spines and bristles that project backwards. The spines are positioned to keep the Flea from being removed from its host during grooming. Adult Fleas have piercing-sucking mouthparts they use to feed on blood from their host.

Detection
The most common Flea is the cat Flea, although this Flea mostly infests dogs and cats. Fleas can be detected on pets by rubbing animal fur backwards and looking for their presence next to the skin. Bites on both pets and humans is an indication of a Flea infestation.

Impact
Fleas are medically important insects. The most serious human disease transmitted by biting Fleas is Bubonic Plague, which reportedly killed 25,000,000 people in the Middle Ages.

Other diseases include typhus. Flea Allergy Dermatitis is also a problem with pets. The presence of Fleas on pets may cause allergic reactions on the animal and lead to an overall unhealthy appearance.

Prevention
A homeowner can perform several simple techniques to prevent infestations: 

  • Wash the pet’s blanket, rugs, and pet carrier. Vacuum pet sleeping and resting areas thoroughly to help remove Flea eggs, larvae, and adult Fleas.
  • Regularly wash your pet to remove the adult Fleas.
  • To prevent Fleas from maturing into biting adults, use an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) preventive treatment by a OnSite professional.

 

Ticks

American Dog Tick

Identification
Ticks are small and flattened, consisting of two body regions fused together as one in appearance. In the adult stage, they have eight legs and take blood meals. They do not have antennae. Ticks are usually 3mm or more in length and are ectoparasites on mammals, birds, and some on reptiles and amphibians.

Detection
Check pets frequently for the presence of Ticks. Ticks may also bite and feed on human blood and they usually attach themselves to the body near constricted areas (belt lines) or climb to the head. At certain times of the year they may gather in large numbers on exterior walls or enter the home through cracks around windows and doors.

Impact
In addition to creating annoyance and discomfort, Ticks are efficient carriers of many diseases of humans and pets. They are second only to mosquitoes in the number of diseases they inflict to man, and are the number one cause for disease in domestic animals. Disease associated with Ticks include: Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, typhus, rickettsial pox, relapsing fever, and others.

Prevention
Avoiding Tick-infested areas is the best approach, but precautions can be taken by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats in these areas. Light-colored clothing should be worn to make Ticks easier to see, and pants should be tucked into socks or boots to prevent them from getting under the pants leg. Tick repellants can be applied to the outside of clothing, particularly the pants leg.

Keeping weeds mowed will also help prevent a problem, and reducing brush and small trees in rural areas is beneficial.

A professional perimeter treatment will greatly reduce Tick numbers, especially when they congregate around the home.