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What Kinds of Ticks and Fleas are out There?

By Harry Ross Subscribe to RSS | July 17th 2012 | Views:
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Ticks, known as ectoparasites, or external parasites, live on the outside of bodies of mammals, birds, and even sometimes reptiles and amphibians. Ticks survive solely on the blood of those it bites. They attach themselves to the host and can feed for up to several days, gradually swelling as their bodies engorge with blood.

There are two main kinds of ticks: soft ticks and hard ticks. Soft ticks do not have the hard outer casing and usually feed for less than one hour. Diseases can be transmitted by soft ticks in just a few minutes.Hard ticks have a tough outer plate and can feed anywhere between several hours to several days. Diseases spread by hard ticks usually occur at the end of a meal.

Tick-borne diseases – It’s not the tick bite itself that is your cause for worry, however. Ticks carry and spread diseases – diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever — that can cause serious, sometimes fatal, consequences. In fact, ticks spread more disease to humans than any bug besides mosquitoes.

A flea is a wingless insect between 1/16 and 1/8 on an inch long, usually dark or reddish brown in color, with long legs capable of propelling the flea in a seven inch vertical jump or a 13 inch horizontal jump – that is 1200-2200 times its height! A flea’s mouthparts are adapted, like the tick, to piercing skin and sucking blood. Fleas feed on the blood of mammals and birds and females lay eggs in batches – usually on the host itself. A host’s sleeping area becomes the flea’s primary habitat.

Flea Bites and Diseases - Flea bites are itchy – some people and animals also suffer an allergic reaction – and are red and raised, resembling a mosquito bite. Fleas carry diseases and are, like ticks, considered disease vectors. In fact, fleas are responsible for spreading the infamous bubonic plague, as well as other viral and bacterial diseases.

Prevent and Control Tick and Flea Problems - Early detection and removal is key to preventing tick and flea problems. Remove ticks from animals and people as soon as detected. It’s crucial the tick’s head is removed from the host – so consult a medical professional if necessary. If you live in a tick-infested area, check for ticks daily. If going into a tick-infested area, wear light colored clothing to make spotting ticks easier, avoid touching plants in tick-heavy areas, and wear tick repellants.

To rid your home from fleas, try borax treatments to flea nesting areas (like a pet bed), keep clothing, bedding and fabrics clean and washed, and use a dehumidifier to disrupt the flea’s breeding cycle. Your most comprehensive action – with the most long-lasting results — will be to consult a New Jersey pest control service trained at eliminating both tick and flea infestations.

Harry Ross - About Author:
Article source: Ross Environmental blog

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