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Fleas and ticks can harm our family and pets, latching on to us for a blood meal. While these pests are small, they can come with big health risks through transmitting diseases. As we continue the warmer weather outside, these pests will do the same, thriving in South Florida’s climate. Fleas and ticks can often get confused with one another, so it’s best to understand their differences 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 back legs that are strong, allowing them to jump repeatedly from one host to another. A common indication that your pet has fleas is noticing them repeatedly scratch and groom 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 can be a variety of sizes and colors. There are two groups of ticks to look out for: the hard ticks and the soft ticks. The most common species in North America include the deer tick, lone star tick, brown dog tick, and the American dog tick. While these ticks may look different, they are all seeking a blood meal and a humid place to inhabit. 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 the 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 these pests from biting you, your family, and your pets:
With the arrival of warmer weather, most of us will be spending more time outside with our pets. But while we enjoy being outdoors more, it can expose us and our pets to certain pests, such as fleas and ticks. These parasitic insects carry many diseases, including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis.
Fleas and ticks can be difficult to keep at bay, often taking weeks to control. There are many ways to protect you and your pets from these pests; continue reading to find out how.
While fleas and ticks are more common in the summer months, this doesn’t mean they are completely gone. Some tend to survive the winter months indoors, causing havoc year-round. To prevent your pets from being exposed throughout the year, check with your veterinarian to see the best treatment methods for them. Always properly administer and check the expiration date on any treatments given to your pets.
If your pet frequents the outdoors, inspecting them before returning indoors will help keep the fleas and ticks away. Ticks like to find warm spots, so checking your pet’s ears, skin, and under armpits are the best places to search. Remove any ticks you might find and reach out to your vet if your pet has been bitten.
Cleaning up your pet’s sleep area at least once a week is a good way to deter or get rid of any pests that have shown up. Get a dog/cat bed that is washable and wipe down their areas frequently. Vacuuming often is also a good way to keep fleas away.
Fleas are known to live in carpets, rugs, and pet bedding. They also avoid high traffic areas, so don’t miss vacuuming near baseboards, under furniture, under cushions, and anywhere your pets sleep or spend significant time.
Fleas prefer warm, moist, shady areas, while ticks like to hide in tall grass. Mowing your lawn regularly and keeping shrubs trimmed back will give them fewer places to hide in your yard.
Attracting wildlife will surely bring more ticks and fleas into your yard. Try not to leave food and water bowls outside overnight. Keep pet food sealed in containers, use trash cans with locking lids, and seal crawlspaces, garages, sheds, and decks.
If you have taken these preventative measures but are still experiencing a tick and flea problem, it might be time to reach out to your local pest control company for further assistance.