Fleas & Ticks

If you have enjoyed being outside in the warmer months with your pet or have hiked in the woods, you most likely have encountered fleas or ticks along the way, even while wearing flea and tick repellant. Both are parasitic in nature, living on hosts larger than themselves. Both need to feed on blood of their host and can transmit various diseases. They will hitch a ride on you or your pet allowing them access to your living space where the problem festers.

Fleas are brownish black to black, but reddish black when full of blood. They prefer hairy animals such as dogs, cats, rodents, and squirrels, but will look to you for a blood meal if the opportunity presents itself. They can jump 6 inches, which affords them the ability to get around quite well. Most will be found nearby pet resting areas. Eggs are deposited between hairs of the animal or on the bedding material and are easily shaken off.

Ticks vary in color by species and are often found near wooded and highly vegetated areas. Adult crawl up on low vegetation, cling to it and grasp onto any passing host. This is how they can make inside your home. Therefore, it is always a good idea to inspect yourself and your pet when returning from the outdoors. If ticks are attached to your skin, they should be grasped behind the head with tweezers and pulled slowly away from the skin. Do not just crush the tick so that more bacteria does not enter the puncture site. The mouthparts should be removed as well and the wound thoroughly washed and disinfected.

Due to the complexity of this issue and what is required to eradicate the infestation, it is best to call Apex as soon as possible for flea and tick treatment!

Call Apex Pest Control Today! 1-800-MUG-A-BUG (1-800-684-2284)
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Fleas & Ticks Identification

These parasitic pests are some of the most difficult to eradicate. Identification is the first step in removing any pest from your home or office. Fleas & ticks are more common than you think!

Cat Fleas

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Brownish-black to black, but reddish-black when filled with blood
  • Legs: 6
  • Size: Adult fleas are 1/8 inches long
  • Identifying Characteristics: Strong hind legs which they use to jump from host to host; bodies are hardened and compressed from side to side

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Infestations get started in summertime, after pests come into contact with infested pets or while outside in infested areas
  • Have piercing-sucking mouthparts and they readily jump when trying to attach to a host (yes, people can be the host). Flea bites are extremely irritating to pets
  • Fleas undergo complete metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa, adult). Adult male and females need a blood meal before mating. Females, which lays approximately 4-8 eggs after each blood meal, may lay up to 500 eggs during her lifetime. These eggs are deposited between the hairs of the animal and hence, are easily shaken off onto nearby surroundings
  • Can remain in pupa stage for an extremely long period of time due to lack of host or vibratory conditions. Adults emerge from pupa state when stimulated by vibration and an increase in carbon dioxide, which indicates a host is present

Blacklegged Deer Tick

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Body is orange-brown to reddish-brown and the legs are dark reddish-brown to black in color
  • Legs: 8
  • Size: Unengorged adult female 1/8” long (male slightly smaller 1/16”)

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Found primarily in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, southeastern, and northcentral states in the United States, but extend into Mexico
  • Preferred host is the white-tailed deer
  • Of medical importance because it is an important vector of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis
  • Life cycle (egg to egg) can be completed in 2 years in nature, it may be extended to 4 years if hosts are scarce
  • Female can deposit about 3,000 eggs which hatch in 48 to 135 days and can be found June through September

American Dog Tick

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Brown with whitish to grayish markings often with a silvery hue
  • Legs: 8
  • Size: Unengorged adult female 3/16” long (male slightly smaller 1/8”); engorged female is about 5/8”

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Only found in North America
  • Of medical importance because vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, and also causes tick paralysis
  • Over 14 to 32 days, lays egg masses totally 4,000 to 6,500 yellowish-brown eggs and then dies
  • Can survive up to 540 days unfed
  • Does not survive well indoors

Brown Dog Tick

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Reddish-brown in color, but when engorged, engorged parts of the body change to gray-blue or olive color
  • Legs: 8
  • Size: Unengorged adults are about 1/8”, but enlarge up to about ½” long when engorged with blood

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Found throughout the United States and the world
  • Most common species encountered indoors
  • Rarely attack humans, but can serve as vectors for Rocky Mountain spotted fever and several other disease organisms
  • Drops off host dog, seeking shelter to lay her mass of typically 1,000-3,000 tiny, dark brown eggs
  • Eggs hatch in 19-60; under favorable conditions, cycle can be completed in about 2 months but there are usually only 2 generations per year in the north and 4 in the south
  • Does not do well outdoors; prefers warm, dry conditions where dogs live