Flea and tick season is well underway in the Sunshine State. May started off with rising temperatures, which means you may begin to see those tiny blood-sucking pests around your yard or hitching a ride on your pets or even yourself. There are important things to look for when identifying ticks and fleas, as well as actions to take upon their arrival — but first, take a minute to learn more about the fleas and ticks that are native to Florida.
Florida is home to several species of fleas, but the cat flea is the most common. It likes to attack a wide variety of warm-blooded animals, such as dogs, humans, chickens, rabbits, squirrels, rats, and mice. It’s important to note that multiple species of fleas may be found on a single animal. Other fleas found in Florida are dog, human, and sticktight fleas.
The most common ticks found in Florida are the brown dog tick and the American dog tick, which cause the most trouble. The brown dog tick primarily attacks dogs and is typically found in and around houses where dogs are kept. The brown dog tick rarely transmits disease to humans, but may transmit diseases to your dogs, including canine ehrlichiosis and babesiosis. The American dog tick is mostly encountered in the outdoors and can crawl onto your animals or yourself without you knowing; so while it is considered an outside pest, it can be transported indoors.
Fleas are very small (1/16 inches), dark, reddish-brown, wingless, blood-sucking insects. A flea’s life cycle occurs in four stages: adult, eggs, larvae, and pupae. The female flea can lay more than 500 eggs over the period of five months, and once eggs are produced, the cycle of flea life can be constant and very difficult to manage. The adult flea’s mouth is adapted for sucking blood, and their hard, polished bodies are flattened side to side and covered with many hairs and short spines (with long legs that are well-adapted for jumping), making it easy to navigate through the hairs on their host’s body.
Signs to watch for in pets include: constant scratching, a rough coat, and/or infected skin. Symptoms of fleas can be mistaken for mange, so be very attentive to your animals’ symptoms. Fleas can also bite humans, which results in itching and infection. Keep an eye out for small red spots with a red halo and little swelling — signs that a flea may have been feeding.
Ticks are closely related to spiders, but are not considered insects. Adult ticks have eight legs, and their life cycle is divided into four stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. All ticks feed on blood during some or all stages in their life cycle, and they are known to transmit serious diseases to animals and humans, even though humans are not their preferred host. Ticks are known to be almost as concerning as mosquitoes, in terms of public health importance.
Adult female ticks lay between 1,000 and 3,000 eggs after infesting a dog. You will often find eggs in cracks on the roof, in kennels, high on the walls, on ceilings, and around baseboards, window and door casings, curtains, furniture, and rugs. Egg-laying females are often seen crawling up walls to lay eggs.
Once ticks and/or fleas have been identified in your outdoor or indoor spaces, you must act quickly. Setting up treatment at the first sign of a problem is important to help prevent a full-scale flea or tick invasion. Prevention is key – use repellents like Deet and Picaridin, keep your pets clean and checked upon entering your inside spaces, and inspect other animals you have (like chickens) and keep them treated. Call for pest control services at the first sign of an infestation, because it is only going to get worse if not handled properly.
Trust in Trads
The good news is Trad’s is here to help you prevent and treat flea and tick infestations with our Complete Pest Control program. Our Pest Control experts are highly trained and know how to proceed in unique conditions present in Northeast Florida. Our professionals work with you to form a user-friendly program that best suits your needs. Don’t waste time, once fleas and ticks move in, they don’t like to leave. Call us today at (904) 733-7488 to set up your consultation! We’ll give them the boot.