While we soak up the last of the summer weather, many of us are hiking mountains, exploring parks, or just enjoying our backyard. While these activities are great for the whole family, there is a chance of being exposed to fleas and ticks. These pests are extremely small, making them hard to spot and dangerous if not treated in enough time. We break down the difference between these two pests and how you can prevent their bites.
Ticks are about 1/8 of an inch and can be a wide range of colors, often dark. These insects usually live in low-lying areas such as grass, shrubs, and bushes. To survive, they need blood and will often feed on humans, squirrels, raccoons, birds, dogs, and more. Their bites can cause irritation or even an allergic reaction. Their mouthparts will even remain on the host’s skin.
These pests can be dangerous as they will transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis.
Dark reddish-brown in color, fleas are also only 1/8 of an inch long. These pests are found in various environments, but they prefer and are most active in warm, humid temperatures. Like ticks, fleas feed on a host for blood, including humans, but would prefer to feed on hairy animals such as dogs, cats, rats, opossums, and more. Fleas can be tough to spot as they move from host to host very quickly.
If bitten, they can cause small, red, itchy spots on the skin. If the spot is scratched too many times, it can begin to bleed.
Preventing both fleas and ticks from biting you can seem daunting since they can be hard to find, but it’s all about taking precautions before you head out on your next adventure! Here are a couple of easy things to do to prevent fleas and ticks from biting you and your family:
- If exploring in tall grass or wooded areas, make sure to wear long pants, long sleeves, and closed-toed shoes.
- Always use insect repellent that contains DEET before you leave your house.
- If you take your pets, treat them with repellent products to reduce their risk of getting bitten.
- After your adventure, check yourself and your pets for any ticks or fleas. Some common places they like to latch onto are the backs of knees, armpits, scalp, the back of the neck, and behind the ears.
- If you’ve noticed these insects are infesting your yard or getting inside the house, consider calling your local pest control company where they can inspect and provide a prevention plan.