A Comprehensive Guide To Effective Flea & Tick Control For Memphis Property Owners
September 15, 2020
Fleas & ticks are some of the quietest pests you can get, but once they’ve found a host, they can wreak havoc on the health of your Memphis household and family. If you’re finding suspicious bug bites on yourself, your family, or your pets, don’t risk letting the issue resolve itself. Let’s see if you’ve got fleas or ticks in the house.
Common Memphis Fleas & Ticks
There are several different species of ticks in Memphis, and each one looks slightly different and can transmit different diseases. Ticks are hard to identify because most only grow to between 1-2 mm in length, but knowing which species you’re dealing with helps inform you about the pest’s behavior and the threat to your home.
On top of their small size, all ticks have flat, teardrop-shaped bodies, eight spiny legs, and small oval-shaped heads. The most common type of tick in Memphis is the American dog tick, which has a paler brown body, relatively high mobility, and will readily use both humans and pets as hosts.
Other tick species are less common, but still pose big threats to your household. Brown dog ticks are very specific to dogs, and unlike other species, they will sometimes leave their host and nest in cracks and crevices around the house. Deer ticks are perhaps the most dangerous tick species, though they are usually encountered in the woods and rarely make their way to manicured yards. Deer ticks are serious because they can spread Lyme disease.
All ticks are arachnids, related to spiders and scorpions. Ticks don’t latch onto their host forever, they only feed for a few days. Fleas, by contrast, are parasites that live indefinitely on their hosts. They grow anywhere between 1-10mm, have six spiny legs, and hard, bristly bodies.
Though fleas and ticks are different types of pests, they are both hard to see, and both cause similar problems.
Diseases Associated with Fleas & Ticks
All fleas and ticks pose concerns to the health of your household. The first possible sign of a flea- or tick-borne disease is a bite. These pests bite their hosts because they feed on animal and human blood. As they feed, they tend to get plumper and more darkish-red.
Unlike other pests, ticks tend to stay on their hosts and feed over multiple days, so you may even see a tick somewhere on your skin. If you don’t see the tick, you’ll probably see the resulting bite – usually in a warm, moist place on the body, like hair or armpits. These tick bites are small, red, and sometimes asymptomatic, but they can be itchy, painful, burning, blistering, or even cause difficulty breathing, depending on your sensitivity.
Fleas, by contrast, live in the skin and hair of their hosts. They usually inhabit the fur of animals, though they occasionally leave their host’s domain to feed on another animal.
Not all bites result in diseases, but you might not know you have an infection until you see a bite and see a medical professional. The most common tick disease is Lyme disease, in which the tick bite can grow into a large “bulls-eye” shape and cause fatigue, muscle aches, and potentially arthritis or other chronic illnesses. Depending on the species, tick bites can also cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, anaplasmosis, the Heartland virus.
Fleas, by contrast, are responsible for transmitting the black plague, and can also transmit typhus.
Flea & Tick Prevention Tips
If you see the signs of a flea or tick bite, it may be wise to seek medical help. The best way to ward off these infections is to prevent fleas and ticks from happening at all.
Consider the following to keep your pets and family safe:
- Avoid tall grasses and wooded, brushy areas. Ticks will “quest” for a host in these areas and latch onto you in these habitats, then get to feasting right away.
- If you can’t avoid these kinds of areas, spray your clothing with permethrin. This helps keep ticks from attaching to your skin, though you should only treat your clothes with it – and certainly not your pets.
- Clean up brush, leaves, and woodpiles, and cut tall grasses around the yard. If your lawn is habitable for ticks, they’re sure to find their way onto your clothes. This also ensures that common wildlife hosts, such as rodents, stay away from your family, keeping their ticks away as well.
- Check your clothing and pets for ticks when you come indoors, and be sure to shower right away. Ticks can commonly be found in your hair, under your armpits, around the waist, and behind your knees.
Finally, try to deter wildlife around your property, as wildlife can carry fleas and sometimes ticks, Keep your trash secure and remove standing water from around your property so that wild animals and rodents are not attracted to your property and don’t transmit these pests to your pets.
If you find yourself dealing with tick bites, see ticks around the house or lawn, or are worried you have a tick bite, get rid of these problem pests for good with Memphis’ Mid-South Pest and Termite. Reach out today!