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Fleas and ticks can harm our family and pets, latching onto us for a blood meal. While these pests are small, they come with big health risks by transmitting diseases. As warmer weather continues outside, these pests will do the same, thriving in South Florida’s climate. Fleas and ticks often get confused with one another, so it’s helpful to understand the difference between the two so you can keep your family protected.
Fleas are wingless with a reddish-brown, flattened body. Adult fleas will range up to 1/6 of an inch in length. These creatures have mouthparts that are adapted for sucking blood from a host. What is unique about fleas is that they have long, strong back legs that allow them to jump repeatedly from one host to another. A common indication that your pet has fleas is noticing them repeatedly scratching and grooming themselves. Likewise, for humans, fleas will leave behind itchy bite marks on the skin. Another sign is spotting flea feces, or flea dirt, throughout your home. Flea dirt looks like coarse ground black pepper and is typically found in areas where a pet rests.
Depending on their species, ticks come in a variety of sizes and colors. There are two groups of ticks to look out for: hard ticks and soft ticks. The most common tick species in North America include the deer tick, lone star tick, brown dog tick, and American dog tick. While these ticks may look different, they are all seeking a blood meal and a humid place to habitat. They are often found in wooded or vegetated areas. When they find a host, they will typically latch onto the face, legs, armpits, belly, and even in-between toes!
Taking precautions before you leave home with your family or pet can help reduce the chances of a flea or tick infestation. Here are a couple of preventative measures you can take to prevent fleas and ticks from biting you, your family, and your pets:
The weather is warming up, many of us are starting to spend time outside with our friends, family, and pets. Enjoying the outdoors has its benefits but also the disadvantage of coming across nuisance pests! Two common spring pests that can be harmful to both humans and pets are ticks and fleas. These insects will typically latch onto us or our animals, making their way inside homes, bringing the risk of infestation.
Fleas tend to be dark red or brown, with their size varying between ½” to 1/6” in length. Fleas have a flat body, two antennae, and six legs. These pests will bite both humans and pets such as dogs and cats. Fleas have the incredible ability to jump to great heights, sometimes up to eight feet high! Jumping allows them to hitchhike into homes while hidden in pet fur. Dogs and cats will often get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or spending time outdoors. Once fleas have latched onto an animal host, they tend to stay there and then will easily transfer over to furniture or other animals. Fleas can be a health risk as their saliva is known to cause anemia, dermatitis, and facilitate and transfer tapeworms.
There are two categories when identifying ticks: soft ticks and hard ticks. The soft tick will feed on bats and birds while the hard tick will feed on humans, pets, and nuisance wildlife. People and animals are likely to encounter ticks during the warmer months. Ticks can pose several health threats to humans and animals as they can transmit serious diseases such as Lyme disease and “tick paralysis.” Some tick species, such as the American Dog Tick, prefer to attach and feed on domestic dogs, which in turn allows them to sneak into our homes. When ticks feed, they can grow up to four times in size when engorged with blood, making them much easier to spot.
Controlling fleas and ticks can sometimes feel like an impossible task, especially if you have animals. If you suspect that you have a flea and tick problem, consider calling your local professional pest company who can thoroughly inspect your entire property and provide you with a treatment and prevention plan.
A household pest is any undesired animal that has a history of living, invading, causing damage to, eating food from, acting as a disease vector for, or causing any other harm to a human habitat. While most are considered a nuisance, household pests become dangerous when they pose a risk to health, property, or lifestyle. Household pests aren’t just limited to insects; they also include arachnids, rodents, and wildlife.
While household pests can be found year-round, some are more common in the summer months. Here are 8 of the most common summer household pests and how you can prevent them.
Mosquito season peaks in the summer months. The warm weather and humid environments accelerate their life cycle so they are able to reproduce in large numbers during this time. You are most likely to see mosquitoes when you have standing water on your property. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water and the hot, humid climate in summer is ideal for both breeding and to find food sources. Mosquitoes are dangerous to humans as they carry pathogens that can cause serious diseases like Zika and West Nile virus.
Mosquitoes can be prevented by:
Ants hibernate in the winter and come out in full force over the summer. They have to forage in the summer months to feed their growing colonies and to build up their reserves for fall. Ants are usually seen indoors in the summer because they are searching for food and water as these can become scarce for them.
Ants can be prevented by:
Fleas are prevalent in the summer months, although they can be found on pets year-round. Pets will indicate the presence of fleas by scratching and biting when they come in from outdoors.
Fleas can be prevented by:
Ticks are problematic to humans and pets because they spread diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Tick bites increase in the summer because people and animals are spending more time outside. The US is also seeing an increase in ticks because of the combination of mild winters and an increased population of deer and rodents which are known to carry ticks.
Ticks can be prevented by:
Termite swarming season is in the spring but these newly established colonies grow exponentially in the summer. Termites can go long periods of time undetected, causing significant damage to your home. It is important to keep an eye out for signs of termites so you can catch them early.
Termites can be prevented by:
While most people view grasshoppers as just a nuisance pest, they can be devastating to gardeners and farmers. Grasshoppers can devour an entire field of crops in just a few days. Grasshoppers surge in large numbers in the summer months and are most prevalent in dry, hot summers. Grasshoppers can also cause damage to non-farmers as these are one of the only pests that can chew through screens.
Grasshoppers can be prevented by:
Flies invade your home in the summer months to escape the heat. They only reproduce during the hotter months and reproduce even more prolifically when they get indoors. Flies will stick around well into the fall months.
Flies can be prevented by:
Stinging insects mate in the spring and their populations grow during the summer months. Hornets and yellow jackets are especially common in the summer because they have to establish new nests each year. These are usually found under decking or under piles of leaves. These stinging insects are potentially dangerous for people with allergies. Yellow jackets and bees can also get into the walls of homes, causing significant damage.
Stinging insects can be prevented by:
Don’t let these common summer pests ruin your summer. If you have a problem with any of these pests, contact a professional pest control company who can help eliminate them safely and prevent them going forward.
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As the weather continues to pull you and your family towards more outdoor activities, the chances of getting bug bites increases. Here are some tips to prevent these bites and stings, and get back to enjoying your summer:
Treating bug bites and stings can put a damper on any outdoor activity. If you have issues with biting/stinging pests, call (866) 616-0862 or request a free pest inspection from your local pest control company.