Here in Pensacola, FL, flea and tick season is just about all year long. Sure, we might get a break during the coldest weeks of winter, but that break usually is over pretty quickly. That means we all need to be vigilant for nine or ten months out of the year. Fleas and ticks aren’t just a problem for pet owners – they can infest anybody. What’s worse, fleas and ticks spread all sorts of illnesses, some of them deadly. It’s probably safe to say you don’t want a yard or house full of these biting parasites. Let’s talk about how to avoid just that.
Flea vs Tick – Which Is Worse?
It’s hard to say which pest is “worse” because fleas & ticks infest your home and feed on you and your pets in different ways.
Fleas: Fleas are small, agile, and able to infest your property in huge numbers. While fleas can and do live on dogs and cats – hiding, nesting, and breeding in their thick fur – they can’t actually take up residence on relatively hairless humans. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t bite us. Fleas also hide and breed by the thousands in your bushes, grass, furniture, carpet, and pretty much anywhere else they’re free to establish themselves. To feed on people, they’ll hop on you when you get close enough, grab a quick bite, and hop off. You can be bitten dozens or hundreds of times in this manner.
Ticks: Unlike fleas, ticks never actually live on a host. They drop onto hosts when they walk underneath trees or crawl up onto them from the bushes or tall grass. Then, they embed themselves in the flesh of their host and suck out a bloodmeal until they’re full to bursting – and we do mean bursting. Ticks can swell to several times their unfed size when fully engorged. It takes around 72 hours for a tick to become fully engorged, which means you’ll probably find it on yourself before then. However, you might not find one on your pets until it becomes quite full. Remember, the more time ticks spend feeding on you, the more time they have to infect you with dangerous diseases.
Do Fleas And Ticks Spread Disease?
Fleas can and sometimes do spread disease. In fact, they’re one of the main culprits responsible for spreading the Black Death across Europe. We don’t have to worry as much about bubonic plague now, as a few rounds of antibiotics are typically enough to clear it up, and it’s now rare for people to die of it. But fleas also spread other illnesses including typhus, cat scratch fever, and certain parasites.
However, ticks are much more likely than fleas to spread dangerous illnesses. The most famous tick-borne illness is Lyme disease – a serious infection that affects everything from the nervous system to the joints to the heart and can cause death. Other diseases carried by ticks include the Powassan virus, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
How Do I Keep Ticks And Fleas Away?
There are lots of things you can do to keep these disease-infested pests off your property such as:
- Deter potentially infested wildlife like raccoons, opossums, rabbits, etc.
- Speak with your veterinarian about preventative treatments for pets.
- Vacuum, cut grass, trim bushes, and do similar things to reduce flea and tick hiding spots.
- Wear protective clothing when out in wooded areas to avoid picking up hitchhikers.
If you wind up with an infestation despite your best efforts, don’t worry. Help is just a click or call away. Here at EnSec Pest & Lawn, we’ve been serving the Florida Panhandle for over 20 years! Our home pest control programs include a free inspection, treatment tailored to your needs, and follow-up visits to ensure your problem stays solved. So give us a call at (850) 821-2215 or visit our contact page for your free estimate today!