Flea infestations are most likely to occur during the warm, moist months of the year. Long before you notice the problem, the flea population may be building up where your pet normally rests. The population, in the form of eggs, larvae, and pupae have been building up all year long, but rapid development into biting adults is not completed until the temperature and humidity rise to needed levels.
If your animal has a flea problem you will notice hair loss, frequently around the base of the tail, and they may repeatedly bite and scratch that area, sometimes until it becomes raw. Thus, even though humans may not be bothered at all, the family pet may be in great distress.
Fleas are attracted to some people more than others. Some people are allergic to the flea saliva and experience distress even though they are not getting bitten any more often than anyone else. Particularly sensitive people suffer intense itching for up to a week and sometimes come down with a generalized rash.
Ticks are part of the arachnid family and most ticks have a hard body shell, elongated mouthparts, and eight legs in the nymph and adult stages. Ticks do not fly or jump. They live in tall grass, leaf litter and shrubs.
The life cycle of the tick requires 2 years to complete. The adult female ticks drop off their hosts (white-tailed deer are the host for the blacklegged ticks) and lay approximately 2,000 eggs in the spring. These eggs hatch into larvae later in the summer.
The larvae then feed on mice other small mammals. Once they feed, the larvae are inactive until the next spring when they turn into nymphs. Nymphs then feed in late spring and early summer, and become adults. In the fall, adults attach to and feed on hosts such as dogs, cats, white-tailed deer and humans. The adult females mate, drop off their hosts and lay their eggs in the spring as the cycle starts again.
Most cases of Lyme Disease are transmitted by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick during the nymphal stage in the spring and summer. Infected adult ticks can also transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease into the fall.
Adult ticks only die after they live their two year cycle; adult female ticks die once they lay their eggs in the early spring, and adult male ticks die after they mate in the late fall.
Ticks do not die off in the winter months. Since ticks live in tall grasses, leaf litter, shrubs, trees, and the like, they are protected from the cold temperatures. If the tick does not find a suitable host by winter they may continue to search for blood to feed on throughout the winter. Ticks continue to feed whenever the temperature is above 35 degrees.
FLEA AND TICK TREATMENT PREP LIST
Inside flea treatment prep list:
- Pick up all clothes and toys from the ground.
- Remove and wash all bedding. Including all pets bedding or sleeping blankets.
- Vacuum and/or sweep all floor areas being treated. Throw away bag or clean out vacuum.
- Remove all animals from home while being treated. It is encouraged to have them washed and dipped at this time.
- Please vacate property for at least an hour or two after treatment is performed.
- Make sure all surface areas are dry before returning.
- Upon returning vacuum and/or sweep all treated areas again. Throw away or clean out vacuum. Repeat this step for the next three days.
Outside flea treatment prep list:
- Have grass areas mowed before treatment date.
- Do not water grass areas 12 hours before and 24 hours after treatment.
- Keep all kids and animals off grass areas until completely dry. Usually about an hour or two.
On most occasions both the flea inside and flea outside require a two application treatment. This is to insure the breaking up of the flea life cycle and prevent further infestations.