What are fleas & ticks?
Fleas and ticks are well-known parasites. Despite the descriptive names of flea species (dog and cat fleas) and tick species (American dog ticks, deer ticks, and brown dog ticks), they all feed on a wide variety of hosts, including cats, dogs, deer, mice, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, foxes, other wildlife, and people. Though fleas are insects and ticks are arachnids, both are ectoparasites, which means they attach themselves to the outside of their host's body to feed.
The wide variety of hosts that carry and spread these pests means that fleas and ticks can become a problem on any Illinois property whether you have pets as part of your family or not. Everyone needs to protect their yards and homes from fleas and ticks.
Are fleas & ticks dangerous?
Keeping fleas and ticks away from our yards and inside our homes is important because both can create health issues for people and our pets. Fleas and ticks feed on our blood by biting through our skin, and any opening created in our skin leaves us open to infection.
Ticks are slow feeders and can effectively pass along any diseases they carry to the person or animal they are feeding on. Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are all spread by ticks.
Though fleas spread some diseases, including flea-borne typhus, they aren't a huge vector of diseases in the United States. When it comes to fleas, they are most likely to cause skin irritations. Those allergic to their saliva develop an extremely itchy flea-bite dermatitis. These tiny pests are also intermediate hosts of tapeworm, which can infect both us and our pets.
Why do I have a flea & tick problem?
Ticks have a four-stage life cycle, including egg, larva, nymph, and adult. At each new life-stage, ticks require a new host to feed on. Ticks get into outdoor spaces like our yards on the backs of the hosts they are feeding on. After having their fill of their host's blood, they will fall to the ground, complete the next life-stage and wait for a new host to brush past them that they can attach themselves to. In your yard, that new host could be a member of your family.
Like ticks, fleas are also introduced onto properties by their wild animal hosts. Fleas prefer to feed on animal hosts, hiding in their dense, soft fur. Fleas have a short life of only a few months and usually only feed on one host. People are not the flea's preferred host, but we will do in a pinch. After laying their eggs within their host's fur, the eggs will roll off the animal and onto the ground to develop into new fleas.
Where will I find fleas & ticks?
You will find that both fleas and ticks are most active during the summer and early fall when temperatures are at their highest. Fleas and ticks usually find their way into our yards and homes after being introduced either by wild animals, our pets, or us. Areas of our yards where we are most likely to come into contact with fleas or ticks include at the edges around wooded areas, in tall grass, leaf piles, woodpiles, the soil under decks or shrubs, or areas in your yard where pets spend a lot of time.
Fleas can complete their life cycle indoors while ticks cannot. Usually, finding a tick in your home means that it has fallen off of you or your pet, not that there are hundreds more lurking in your home, but finding fleas in your house is a different story; their presence is likely due to an infestation that needs to be addressed and quickly eliminated.
How do I get rid of fleas & ticks?
The best way to protect your yard and home from fleas and ticks is to partner with a professional and put in place a proactive pest control service. At Aerex Pest Control, we can protect your property from becoming a place fleas, and ticks live and breed through our biannual residential pest control services.
With over 70 years of experience, trust Aerex Pest Control to keep fleas and ticks away from your Chicago area property. To learn more about our effective pest control options, give us a call today!
How can I prevent fleas & ticks in the future?
We have put together a list of practical prevention tips to help you keep fleas and ticks out of your home.
- Reduce your yard's attractiveness to wild animals by keeping lids on trash cans, moving bird feeders to the outside perimeter of your yard, and eliminating yard clutter.
- Use a fence to keep your pets in your yard and prevent them from wandering into a flea or tick-infested area.
- Pets should be placed on a year-round flea and tick preventative under the guidance of their veterinarian.
- Maintain your yard by keeping the grass cut short and regularly cutting back shrubbery.
- Store firewood away from your home's exterior walls.
- Remove brush and leaf piles from your Illinois yard.