What does a tick look like? How long do fleas live without a host? Fleas and ticks can cause similar problems and leave people with many unanswered questions.
Here's what Houston homeowners should know about how similar fleas and ticks really are, what kind of dangerous diseases they can spread, how to prevent fleas and ticks in your yard, and the key to total flea and tick control with pest control in Houston.
How Fleas & Ticks Are Similar Pests
Both fleas and ticks are wingless parasites that rely on humans or animals as hosts. Fleas have six legs, and ticks, which are arachnids, have six to eight legs depending on their stage in the life cycle. While both pests need hosts to feed on, ticks will typically use as many hosts as possible, while fleas may only have one in their short lifespans.
Fleas and ticks also find their hosts in similar ways. As opportunistic parasites, fleas and ticks may hide in tall bushes, grass, or weeds, and wait for a host to walk by. Can fleas jump? Yes, this is another difference between fleas and ticks. Fleas can jump up to a hundred times their height and they use this ability to jump onto their host.
Ticks, in comparison, are not skilled jumpers and use a technique called questing to reach their hosts. When questing, ticks use their outstretched legs to grab onto the first host that brushes by them. It's also important to note that ticks and fleas tend to have different preferences in their choice of host.
While fleas do bite humans, they are not able to live on our bodies as they can with other animals. So fleas use wildlife or pets as their primary hosts. This is because fleas like to lay their eggs directly on the host. Ticks don't reproduce this way and will use both animals or people as hosts. Ticks also attach their mouthparts to a host and can stay attached for several days if the bite goes undiscovered.
How Fleas & Ticks Can Spread Dangerous Diseases
Unfortunately, fleas and ticks are more than just nuisances – both pests are capable of carrying diseases and pathogens that can harm you or your pets. Fleas, for instance, have been linked to certain flea-borne diseases like:
Plague: Usually transmitted by ground squirrel fleas, while rare, fleas can spread the plague to humans.
Typhus: This disease comes from cat fleas and often gets transmitted to wild animals.
Bartonellosis: Fleas can spread Bartonella bacteria to cats, which in turn can infect the people around them.
Fleas also have the potential to spread other parasites, like tapeworms, which may latch onto humans or animals if you accidentally swallow an infected flea. For ticks, there's no shortage of tick-borne illnesses to catch, including:
Besides the health risks, ticks and fleas can also trigger allergic reactions in humans or pets, especially as an infestation grows. Most of these infestations start outside – when you hike through the woods, take your dog on a walk or even let an outdoor cat wander the property.
Any time you are out and about, ticks and fleas may latch onto you or your pet. In some cases, wildlife may bring ticks and fleas onto your property. If you've got feral cats, raccoons, or even rodents in or near your home, they could bring ticks and fleas inside as well.
Simple Tips To Prevent Fleas & Ticks Around Your Yard
Although it's normal to encounter the occasional tick or flea in your backyard, you shouldn't be dealing with them constantly. Here are a couple of ways to lower the tick and flea populations around your property and avoid bites:
Regularly mow your lawn and keep the grass cut short.
Deter wildlife hosts by keeping outdoor trash cans sealed and practicing proper food storage.
Make sure you're treating your pets for ticks and fleas throughout the entire year.
Regularly wash pet bedding and other items that your pets regularly use.
Try to avoid walking in shady areas with low-hanging tree branches or tall grass.
In addition, it's always a good idea to use ongoing assistance from a professional pest control company to control flea and tick populations on your property.
The Key To Total Flea & Tick Control For Your Home & Yard
When it comes to controlling tick and flea populations around your Houston property, there's only one reliable option: All-Safe Pest & Termite. If you think you may have a flea infestation or high populations of ticks around your property, don't wait for the problem to get worse. Instead, contact us today at All-Safe Pest & Termite to learn about the next steps for flea and tick treatment.