If you don’t have pets, you probably are not expecting to be bothered by fleas and ticks. You certainly are not as vulnerable to an infestation as someone who does have pets, but you are not immune.
Fleas and ticks are parasites and they feed on blood, so they need a host to survive. Humans are not generally their first choice, but they will bite humans if they have no other option. Both fleas and ticks are usually found outside, living among wild animals and livestock, which tend to be their preferred hosts. However, pet owners will attest to the fact that these pests often catch a ride indoors on the family dog, and there are some varieties that prefer an indoor habitat, so it is important to understand the habits of these tiny bugs.
Fleas are tiny, reddish brown, wingless creatures that burrow and easily move through animal fur. Favorite hosts include dogs, cats, rabbits, mice and many other furry animals. Although they do not fly, they can jump long distances, and, in instances of an infestation, they can be seen leaping around a room from carpet to furniture.
Fleas typically enter a home by way of a pet. Once inside, the flea may continue to feed on the pet or find another host. Fleas will then lay their eggs, which hatch within two days, in carpeting, bedding or cracks in the floor.
Since fleas seek out a host to survive, the best way to prevent them in your home is control the host population, such as treating for mice, for example. Seal cracks around your home that could allow access for rodents. If you have pets, use flea control products on a regular basis.
The first sign of fleas usually is your pet scratching. If the infestation in your home is already severe, you or your may family members may notice itchy bites, usually around the ankles. Flea dirt (feces), which looks like course ground black pepper, may also be visible in pet beds or on carpets.
Don’t wait to call a professional if you see these signs. Fleas can transmit diseases through a bite or contamination from their feces, and just a few fleas can quickly multiply.
Ticks can be a problem at any time of year, but they are more common during warm months. They vary in color and are very difficult to see until they latch onto a host and become engorged with blood. They generally prefer habitats of woods and vegetation, near their preferred hosts, but, like fleas, they can find their way into homes by hitching a ride on a pet.
which live in wooded and grassy areas seeking out mammals, lizards and some birds that inhabit ground areas.
which prefer animal burrows and dens, and will sometimes make their home in cabins or sheds.
Hard ticks, such as the dog tick and deer tick, are more common than soft ticks, and more likely to spread the diseases most people are familiar with. Since ticks leave no sign of their presence, it is important to check pets, clothing and other belongings for ticks before bringing them into your home.
Like fleas, treating your pets for ticks and keeping your home clear of other rodents and their nests is your best means of prevention. Ticks will lay thousands of eggs after a blood meal, but their lifecycle is impacted by temperature, humidity and availability of food. A tick can survive as long as a year without eating, so you may think you have eradicated this pest only to have it reappear months later.
Ticks can be a serious issue for your pets and your family. Ticks can spread through their bite a variety of serious diseases, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Q Fever, Tularemia, Tick Paralysis, and Meningoencephalitis. Sometimes the first sign of ticks in your home is when someone begins to experience symptoms from one of these diseases as a result of a bite. It is important to seek medical attention right away if this is suspected.
If you find a tick on your pet or another human, careful and correct removal is imperative. Using tweezers, the tick should be worked free so as to completely remove the head and mouth. Crushing the tick or leaving the head or mouth embedded could lead to infection or more exposure to diseased fluids from the tick. Seek medical attention immediately.
Careful attention to your pet and your belongings, especially after visiting an area that may harbor fleas and ticks, is your best means of preventing these pests from getting into and infesting your home. If you suspect that you may have a problem with fleas or ticks, contact the professionals at TNT Exterminating. We can leave you assured that your home is flea and tick free.
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