Ticks and fleas are common to the Florida area, often being found in our yards and homes. Both pests can be harmful to humans and pets if they are not treated properly, making it crucial to understand their characteristics and ways to prevent them. Check out what you need to know about ticks and fleas.
Ticks are around 1/8 of an inch and can have a range of colors but are usually dark. These pests are characterized as arachnids and typically live in low-lying areas, including grass, shrubs, and bushes. For survival, these pests search for a blood meal, commonly feeding on squirrels, raccoons, birds, dogs, humans, and more. Once bitten, their bite will cause irritation and, in some cases, allergic reactions. These pests can also transmit diseases, including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis.
Fleas are extremely small and wingless, ranging in at 1/8 inch. These pests can be found in most environments but prefer to live in areas where it’s warm and humid. While fleas will feed on humans, they prefer to feed on hairy animals, such as dogs, cats, opossums, rats, and more. Since these pests are so small and move fast, it can be hard to spot them as they can jump up 150 times their own height! If bitten by a flea, their bite can produce a small, red itchy spot on the skin, bleeding if it’s scratched or irritated.
Prevent Fleas & Ticks
Taking precautions before you leave your home can help reduce the chance of a flea or tick infestation. Check out these flea and tick preventative measures you should take to prevent these pests:
- Wear light colored clothing, long pants, long sleeves, and closed toed shoes before exploring wooded or grassy areas.
- If you’ll be outside for a few hours, utilize insect repellent containing DEET before you leave the house.
- To protect your pets, consider using flea or tick repellent treatment; make sure to consult your veterinarian on the right product for your pet.
- After returning from outdoors, check yourself, your family, and pets for any ticks and fleas; don’t forget to look under armpits, behind knees, and even between toes!
- Vacuum your home regularly, especially in hard-to-reach spots such as baseboards, under furniture, under cushions, and where your pets sleep or rest.
- Maintain your yard by keeping your grass cut short to help reduce tick and flea populations on your property as these pests love shaded areas.
If you’ve noticed an increase in tick and flea activity around your home, it’s best to call your local pest control provider to inspect, provide a treatment plan, and recommend prevention for the future.