What are fleas and ticks?
Fleas and ticks are both ectoparasites that feed solely on human and animal blood from outside of their bodies. Fleas are a type of insect and are brownish-red or dark brown. Their oval-shaped body is flattened from side to side and covered in a hard-shell. Their body shape and hard exterior help protect them from being squished. Fleas have six legs and tube-like mouthparts they use to feed on the blood of a host.
Ticks are arachnids, and adults have eight legs and two body parts. The soft, oval body of a tick is wingless and has a hard plate behind the head. They have specialized biting mouthparts that allow them to bite through a host's skin, bury their head in the skin, and consume a blood meal.
Cat fleas and dog fleas are both present in our area, but don't let their names fool you; both feed on a variety of hosts in addition to cats and dogs. Mice, rats, skunks, raccoons, deer, squirrels, other wild animals, and people are also hosts for fleas.
Brown dog ticks and wood ticks are common throughout South Carolina. They also feed on a variety of hosts, including people, wild animals, and our pets.
Are fleas and ticks dangerous?
Fleas and ticks are not only dangerous to our pets but to people as well. Ticks especially are vectors of various diseases that make people, pets, and wild animals ill. In South Carolina, ticks commonly spread the following diseases:
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Southern tick-associated rash illness
Fleas aren't as well known for spreading diseases, but they are well-known for causing itchy rashes on people and animals allergic to their saliva. Excessive itching at the bite sites will lead to unsightly scabbing and the possibility of a secondary infection developing.
Both fleas and ticks are unwelcome in our yards and homes. They make it difficult to enjoy our outdoor and indoor spaces to their fullest potential.
Why do I have a flea and tick problem?
Fleas and ticks are mainly outdoor pests because that is where their preferred hosts live. The biggest reason fleas and ticks are on your property is because an animal brought them there, whether it be a wild animal, your pet, or a neighborhood pet. As animals travel, flea eggs and engorged ticks will fall off of their hosts and onto the ground, where they will continue through their life stages until they are ready for a new host to feed on.
Fleas are powerful jumpers, and when adults are ready to feed, they will jump onto a passing host. Ticks are wingless and cannot jump, so the easiest way for them to find a host is to climb onto grass or rest in areas of dense vegetation and wait for a person or animal to brush past them that they can climb onto.
Where will I find fleas and ticks?
Fleas can become a problem both in our yards or inside our homes. Fleas can complete their life cycle indoors after being introduced into a structure. Just a couple of fleas getting into your house can quickly develop into a large-scale infestation.
Ticks are more of a concern outside in our yards rather than in our homes. Most ticks are unable to complete their life cycle indoors. Outside, ticks are most likely to be hiding in tall grass, under leaf or woodpiles, along wooded trails, and along fence lines.
How do I get rid of fleas and ticks?
The best way to quickly get rid of fleas or ticks from your South Carolina property is to partner with an experienced professional. At Greenville Pest Control, our professionals will implement regular pest control services to ensure problems with fleas and ticks are taken care of now and in the future.
If you live in the Greenville, South Carolina area and are experiencing issues with fleas and ticks, reach out to the local professionals at Greenville Pest Control. We always try to go above and beyond for our customers, solving pest problems while having your family's safety at the forefront of everything we do. To learn more about our fleas and tick control solutions, give us a call today!
How can I prevent fleas and ticks in the future?
- Place fencing around your property to limit the number of wild animals and neighborhood pests visiting your yard.
- Place lids on trash cans, remove bird feeders, and pick up uneaten pet food to avoid attracting wild animals to your yard.
- Keep shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation well-maintained to prevent it from overgrowing and providing hiding spots for wild animals, fleas, and ticks.
- Cut grass regularly to keep it short.
- If you own pets, place them on a year-round flea preventative program.
- Vacuum your home regularly and regularly wash pet bedding to eliminate stray fleas and ticks.