Protecting yourself from fleas and ticks can prevent the transmission of disease and painful bites on your skin. Fleas are small insects with an oval-shaped abdomen and six legs. Most fleas are smaller than a grain of rice and dark brown. There are several different kinds of ticks prevalent in North America, but the brown dog tick and lone star tick are the most prevalent in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Where do fleas and ticks come from?
Pet owners, in particular, are usually aware of fleas and ticks in their area, and these insects can survive and thrive in the warm weather we all enjoy in Dallas, Texas. Preventative medications are not provided to all humans every month like it is for dogs who frequently encounter ticks in tall grass, wooded areas, undeveloped areas, and even in neighborhoods. It’s also possible to encounter ticks in your garden, backyard, or any brush or forested area. Ticks and fleas feed on a wide variety of animals, and if you bring them into your home, you risk exposing everyone in your household.
There are a number of ticks that commonly found in the Dallas, TX area which include:
Brown Dog Tick:
The Brown Dog Tick is, you guessed it, mostly found on dogs. It’s far less likely for humans to be bitten by Brown Dog Ticks, but in the absence of a dog as a host, we’re a suitable second. When the tick finds a dog, they latch on to tight, hidden areas such as under ears or between toes.
The entire life cycle of a Brown Dog Tick can be completed indoors. After feeding on the dog, the tick is brought into the home and crawls into spaces where they are the least likely to be found, such as the cracks around baseboards, door frames, and window frames. After hatching, larvae seek out a host and the cycle starts again. Brown Dog Ticks can go up to 8 months without feeding, which makes them especially dangerous.
Lone Star Tick:
Lone Star Ticks are very aggressive ticks that bite humans and local wildlife. Their bites are known to be very painful, causing inflammation, swelling, loss of blood, and possible diseases. These ticks are capable of transmitting Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and ehrlichiosis.
How can I tell if a flea or tick has bitten me?
Fleas bite both humans and animals and can quickly infest a home, commercial building, or a dog’s coat if not treated promptly. They prefer warm and somewhat humid areas, and fleas can survive winter temperatures. Due to the warm weather in Dallas, ticks are active year-round.
Most people are eager to know how to get rid of fleas or how to get rid of ticks, but these creatures can be especially difficult to eliminate. Flea and tick bites look very different and can be identified by their unique manifestations.
Fleas bite humans around the ankles, lower legs, and feet. The bites usually happen in dark red clusters that are itchy and sometimes painful. In pets, flea bites also cause small, raised red welts that they can’t seem to stop scratching. It’s not very easy to spot fleas on a pet because of how tiny they are. However, ticks leave behind droppings that look like dirt at the base of the pet’s hair follicles at the skin.
Ticks latch onto a host, whether it be a pet or human, to feed on blood. Once they are on your body, ticks migrate towards areas that are warm like armpits or the groin area. It’s possible that they can feed anywhere on your body. On pets, ticks will behave similarly, gravitating towards the pet’s ears and between toes. The same threat is posed towards pets, whereas ticks can feed anywhere on the body.
If a tick has bitten you, chances are you won’t even feel it. Unless you find the tick while it’s on your body, the only evidence you’ll see is a red, dime-sized mark. If you are concerned about potential disease transmission, seek medical attention. Tick bites aren’t all that easy to identify on dogs and cats. The best way you can eliminate ticks on your pets is to check them regularly for live tick activity.
Are fleas and ticks dangerous?
Fleas are dangerous when a pet brings them into your home. Fleas carry microscopic parasites such as tapeworms, can cause anemia and excessive scratching, and negatively impact the health of dogs and cats. Ticks also transmit Lyme disease among a host of other diseases and illnesses. Brown dog and lone star ticks are known to carry the following:
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
– This bacterial disease is fatal, and it causes fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and weight loss. RMSF can be transmitted by the Brown Dog Tick among others.
– We also have to worry about our furry friends. This condition affects humans, but it is most prevalent in dogs. It causes the death of white blood cells, which results in headaches, fatigue, and soreness. Both Brown Dog Ticks and Lone Star Ticks carry ehrlichiosis.
– In most cases, the infected individual does not know they have babesia until symptoms surface weeks or even months later. Symptoms of babesia include, but are not limited to, chills, fever, headaches, body aches, nausea, and fatigue. If left untreated, babesia can cause hemolytic anemia, a condition that causes red blood cells to be destroyed and removed from the bloodstream at a quicker rate than normal. Babesia can be transmitted by the Brown Dog Tick among others.
How can I prevent fleas and ticks?
Because pets are the main carrier or fleas, it’s imperative that you regularly administer treatments. Big box retailers such as PetSmart and Petco carry several brands of products that you can buy to reduce the risk of flea and tick hosting on your dog. You can also consult with your veterinarian to determine the best option for your pet.
When you take your dog for a walk, spend time in the park, or come in contact with tall grasses in any environment, you could be exposed to infected ticks. The CDC provides a comprehensive guide to ticks, effects of tick bites, and tick prevention. “Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat.” Even your yard can be a breeding ground for dangerous ticks. It’s recommended that you treat boots and clothing in products that contain the active ingredient permethrin. Spray all exposed skin with EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, and other approved chemicals.
When to Call a Pest Control Professional
Here at Certified Termite & Pest Control, we understand that you need your home or business pest-free as quickly as possible. Our highly trained pest management professionals have experience with identifying and eliminating even the most challenging pests like fleas and ticks.
Give us a call or fill out the form on this page to find out more about the full range of services we offer and how we can help resolve your flea or tick problem efficiently.