GETTING RID OF FLEAS AND TICKS EASILY AND CHEAPLY
Fleas and ticks do not just attack animals. If you think they feed off on cats, dogs, and other mammals, only, then think again. Humans are easy targets as well.
It is true that fleas and ticks are the most common pet care problems in the United States. Between these two parasites, fleas are the more common. But whatever the parasite your pets have, it is very important to recognize the signs and symptoms of both fleas and ticks so you can alleviate your pet’s agony at once.
What are fleas?
There are about 2,500 species of fleas. Fleas are small, wingless insects that feed on human and animal blood. They are ⅛ mm in length with reddish-brown bodies. Their bodies are narrow and are flattened sideways, narrow enough to claw around the hairs of dogs and cats. They have long claws on all of their six legs. They feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. They can also feed on the blood of birds. Their bodies are covered with hard plates that are called sclerites. They are excellent jumpers and can easily jump from one host to another because they have great legs really designed for jumping. They can jump as high as 50 times their own size. They are also equipped with mouthparts that are designed for sucking blood.
Types of fleas
There are thousands of species of fleas, but not all of them can be found in the United States. Below are the types of fleas that are common here:
- Cat fleas – Cats are their number 1 target, but they are also known to attack even dogs, humans, and other warm-blooded animals. When not latched onto your pets, they like to hide on carpets mostly but can hide anywhere too. They lay their eggs anywhere, whether on your cats, dogs, or around the house.
- Rat fleas – As their name suggests, they are commonly found in rats; not exclusively though since they can also use humans as a host. There are two kinds of rat fleas: the Oriental and the Northern rat fleas. The Oriental rat flea is about 2.5 mm in length and is very good jumpers due to the shape of their bodies. This type of fleas is the primary culprit for the bubonic plague that terrorized Europe during the middle ages and wiped out half of the world’s population at the time. On the other hand, the Northern rat fleas – which originated from Europe – have elongated bodies, about 3 to 4 mm in length and with eyes on its head. They are the most widely spread among all its genus.
- Human flea – These are the fleas that infect humans. This type of fleas likes to hide in the hairy parts of the human body. They are fond of people who do not practice good hygiene.
- Sticktight fleas – This type of fleas bury their heads into the skin of their hosts, that is the reason why it is very hard to remove them from the skin. They infest dogs, cats, birds, and even humans.
- Springtail fleas – You may also know them as “snow fleas”. They like to live in damp areas. They are about the size of a pinhead but are great jumpers; they can jump up to four feet. Unlike most fleas, they do not attach themselves to animals. They only do so if there is a skin infection which would make the skin damp.
What are ticks?
On the other hand, ticks are small, joint-legged arachnids. They are about 3 mm to 5 mm in size and have eight legs, like spiders. They feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals and are always looking for hosts whenever and wherever they can. They can be found all over the world except Antarctica. They are especially found in places with hot climates.
There are over 800 tick species worldwide.
Ticks life cycle
The life cycle of ticks has four stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. All of these stages in the life of ticks need blood meals. It is usually the female adult ticks that bite because the male adult ticks die after mating, Unlike fleas, ticks do not fly or jump. They just crawl or use their legs to grab onto a host.
There are over 800 tick species worldwide. Two of these species can transmit diseases to humans: the hard ticks and soft ticks.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks are known to spread diseases to humans too. To understand further how dangerous these insects are, below is a list of some of the diseases they transmit.
Tularemia – This is a disease incurred by humans via tick or flea bites. Ticks get infected by feeding on an infected rodents’ blood. When ticks bite humans, it would then allow the transfer of the bacteria.
The signs and symptoms depend on the way the bacteria enters the body. There are three forms of tularemia: ulceroglandular, glandular, and pneumonic. In an ulceroglandular tularemia, high fever, skin ulcer, and swelling of regional lymph glands are present. Signs and symptoms are the same for glandular tularemia as with ulceroglandular tularemia.
The third form, pneumonic tularemia, is the deadliest of the three. Signs and symptoms include difficulty in breathing, chest pains, and cough. When an ulceroglandular tularemia is left untreated, this would result in pneumonic tularemia. The bacteria would then spread to the lungs through the bloodstream.
Immediately seek medical attention once you have these symptoms.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – This is a bacterial disease that may be fatal if not detected and treated early. Signs and symptoms for this disease include fever, headache, rash, nausea, muscle pain, lack of appetite, stomach pain, and nausea. If you have these symptoms, seek care from your doctor. Let them know that you went outdoors and into places where ticks can be found and that you suspect being bitten by it. This would allow your doctor to make the proper treatments that you require. Blood testing may be required to check for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Colorado tick fever – The Colorado tick fever is caused by the Colorado Tick Fever virus. Signs and symptoms for this disease include fever, headaches, chills, and lethargy, sore throat, abdominal pains, stiff neck, and rash. Symptoms would start to show after 1 day to two weeks from the bite. Aside from supportive care, no other treatments are known.
Babesiosis – Usually, people who are infected do not feel any symptoms. For those who do have symptoms, they have a fever, chills, sweating, headache and body aches, loss of appetite, and nausea. To some, this can be life-threatening. Immediately consult with seeking help from a healthcare provider once you get these symptoms, as this is treatable.
Controlling fleas and ticks in your home
There are some cheap and easy ways to get rid of these insects. The following are some tips that can help you to do so:
- Use your vacuum every day as much as possible. Vacuum your carpets, couches, cracks, and crevices around the floors, and cushioned furniture. This would help remove the eggs, larvae, and adult fleas and ticks.
- Use hot steam and soap to clean carpets. This will kill fleas in all the stages in their life cycle.
- Use a flea comb. Bring with you a cup of soapy water and use the comb on your pets outside the house. Dip the comb with the fleas you caught into the soapy water to drown them. Focus on the neck and tail areas of your pets because these are the areas the fleas and ticks congregate.
- Whenever you go outdoors, treat your clothing and gears with products containing 0.5% Permethrin. Permethrin lasts a long time and even after a few washings. You will be protected from ticks for several days with the same clothing, boots, and camping gear. Avoid grassy areas, wooded areas, and brushy areas. The best pest control management in North Carolina If you already have too many fleas or ticks at home, you can simply call Go-Forth Pest Control.
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family owned commercial service solutions provider of modern pest control services and techniques, using the latest and most advanced technology in the business, making our service to you more efficient, safer and more convenient. We have a team of expert professionals who can provide the best pest control services to residents and business establishments all throughout North and South Carolina.
We bring in a new and fresh approach to the pest control industry, using family-friendly and pet-friendly methods of extermination that caters to your specific needs. Our expert experience in exterminating pests like cockroaches, wasps, weevils, mosquitoes, mice, flies, termites, ants, and spiders can really make you say goodbye to these pests in your home. You may check us on Facebook or Google us to see what our satisfied customers have to say about us.
Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.