Some pests cause similar problems but are quite different in anatomy and behavior. That makes the task of preventing and eliminating specific pest problems all the more difficult since the one-size solution doesn’t fit all situations. Fleas and ticks may act similarly, by feeding on humans and leaving welts behind, but proper pest control is about knowing the subtle differences in an infestation that help put you a step ahead.
Fleas Versus Ticks: What You Need To Know
Because they are so similar, people often get fleas and ticks confused, leading to misconceptions about where they come from and how to handle them. In the interest of telling the two biting parasites apart, use the following traits:
- Size: Like ticks, fleas are incredibly small, almost invisible to the naked eye. Smaller even than an apple seed, dark fleas are easier to spot on light surfaces.
- Shape: Unlike ticks, fleas are insects, meaning they have six legs and, although they’re impossible to see, a pair of small antennae. Fleas have very round bodies and large rear legs used for leaping.
- Behavior: As a close relative of bed bugs, fleas are largely nocturnal creatures no matter what species they come in. As such, they look for places to hide and sleep during the day, where nighttime feedings will be a short hop away.
- Size: Ticks are slightly smaller than an apple seed, though their eight legs splayed out around their bodies can make them appear a bit larger than fleas.
- Shape: Ticks are arachnids, meaning they have eight legs. They resemble tiny crabs, however, with hard-shelled bodies and pincer-like jaws used for latching onto skin or clothing.
- Behavior: Unlike fleas, ticks can be quite active during the day and some species specifically look to feed during the daytime.
Problems From Parasitic Pests
Parasitic pests are some of the worst kinds of infestations. Not only are fleas and ticks incredibly small and hard to detect, but they feed on people and pets. This behavior makes them far more than mere nuisances, and all of the following are problems associated with a flea or tick infestation:
While you’re not likely to feel the tiny pinprick from these parasites, especially when the feedings occur at night, they leave behind itchy red welts. These are often found in clusters or lines.
With the bites comes blood-to-blood transfusion of parasitic pests, the risks of pathogens are high. Ticks in particular are known as some of the worst carriers of Lyme Disease.
Tiny pests can thrive, unnoticed, for weeks or months before the signs are apparent. Once an infestation has taken hold, it can be incredibly hard to eliminate all of the living parasites as well as their unhatched eggs.
How To Prevent Fleas & Ticks
Flea and tick prevention is mostly about preventing contact with them while outdoors, and making sure to thoroughly inspect people, pets, and items before bringing them back to your home. Here are some simple but effective steps you can take to prevent fleas or ticks:
Both fleas and ticks typically begin their populations outdoors. Then, when animals or people brush by long grasses and vegetation, ticks and fleas hitch a ride back to the places where we live and sleep. As such, you should avoid short sleeves and shorts when doing outdoor activities.
Wearing repellant clothing, sprays or topical creams can discourage parasites from biting you. Note, however, that these don’t always stop you from bringing them back to your car or home.
This step is twofold. Not only do you need to check yourself and your loved ones before heading back indoors from a trek outside, but you also need to regularly check your property for signs of pests. Trained professionals can help you search your property high and low.
Turn To Romney For More Advice Or Help
With tiny parasitic pests, the task of prevention and control isn’t one you should try to take on yourself. If a population has already moved in, you especially need to turn to professionals for fast, effective extermination. Even if you just need an inspection of your property, to determine your level of risk, partnering with the experts is the best way to go. At Romney Pest Control, our staff can help you prevent or eliminate fleas and ticks in a way that makes sure they’re never a concern in the future.