Fleas/Ticks

Below are pictures and descriptions of the most common fleas and ticks found in and around our homes or offices as well as some we transport here from other parts of the country. Click any picture to enlarge. You’ll find a DO-IT-YOURSELF section at the end of each description.

Cat Flea

CatfleaThe Cat flea is smaller than the Dog flea and more common. An adult is slightly more than 1/16″ in length. They have a complete metamorphosis, egg, larvae, pupae and adult. The eggs are very small and white and are found mixed with the flea feces which is very small and black. Together they look like salt and pepper and are found in your pets coat, pet bedding or an area the pet spends a lot of time. The larvae are very small, white, hairy worm like creatures. The larvae feed on pet and human hair and flea feces. Fleas are a vector of tapeworm and other bacteria. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Fleas are best controlled at the source, your pet. We recommend Comfortis®, Advantage® or Frontline® in this preference order. They will control the fleas on your pet as well as control the fleas away from your pet. We do not recommend a pyrethoid surface spray or shampoo for your pet at the same time as these two modes of action will cancel the affects of the other. To know if it is a pyrethroid, the active ingredient with end with “thrin” or “thrum”. Clean the areas the pet hangs around by vacuuming. Be sure to vacuum real good in cracks and crevices to remove eggs, larvae and feces. Discard the vacuum bag afterwards or vacuum up a moth ball to control the growth of any fleas in the vacuum bag. For tile floors, mop with soap and bleach. You may also add some boric acid to the carpeted areas to dehydrate them.

Dog Flea

DogfleaThe Dog flea is not as common as the Cat flea. A fully matured adult length is about 1/8″. They have a complete metamorphosis, egg, larvae, pupae and adult. Eggs are very small and white. They are usually found in areas of flea feces too which is black. Together they look like salt and pepper in the pets coat, pet bedding or any area where the pet spends a lot of time. Larvae are very small, white, hairy worm like creatures. The larvae feed on pet and human hair and flea feces. They are a vector of tapeworms and transport other bacteria. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Best control is at the source. We recommend Comfortis®, Advantage® or Frontline® in this order of preference. They not only control the fleas on your pet, they also will spread the material to other fleas during mating. We do not recommend using a pyrethroid based product on the pet at the same time as the modes of action contradict each other, thereby canceling their affects. To know if it is a pyrethroid, the active ingredient will end with “thrin” or “thrum”. Clean the areas the pet hangs around very regularly by vacuuming. Be deligent to vacuum real good in cracks and crevices to remove eggs, larvae and feces. Discard the bag or vacuum up a moth ball to inhibit the growth of any fleas in the bag. Mop the floors using a soap and bleach. You may also apply boric acid to carpeted areas to dehydrate the fleas.

Flea eggs and feces

FleaeggsfecesFlea eggs and feces at first glance look like salt and pepper. You’ll find it in your pets hair, pet bedding or anywhere your pet spends a lot of time. If you’re finding this condition, follow the DO-IT-YOURSELF instructions in the flea library.

Tick Chart

TickchartThis tick chart illustrates the different common species and size prior to a blood meal. As you can see, the nymphs can be very small.

American Dog Tick (Female)

DogtickThe American Dog tick is also known as a wood tick. The pre-engorged nymph can grow to about 1/8″ in length and fully engorged to about 1/2″. This tick is common in rural grassy areas, wooded areas and mostly spread through pet kennels. They host on birds, small and large mammals like rodents, opossum, dogs, horses, deer and cattle. According to the CDC, they are a vector of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Cytauxzoonosis. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Stay away from these environments. Wear light colored clothing to spot them easier. After leaving this environment, launder all clothes as hot as possible and heat dry. Apply an over the counter pyrethroid prior to entering these areas. If they are found on your pet, we recommend Frontline®. Do not apply an over the counter pyrethroid at the same time as Frontline®. The two chemistries work against each other thereby cancelling there modes of action.

Gulf Coast tick (Female A, Male B)

Gulf-Coast-tickThe nymph can grow to about 1/8″ in length. This tick is common in rural grassy areas, wooded areas and mostly spread through pet kennels. They host on birds, small and large mammals like rodents, opossum, dogs, horses, deer and cattle. According to the CDC, they are a vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Stay away from these environments. Wear light colored clothing to spot them easier. After leaving this environment, launder all clothes as hot as possible and heat dry. Apply an over the counter pyrethroid prior to entering these areas. If they are found on your pet, we recommend Frontline®. Do not apply an over the counter pyrethroid at the same time as Frontline®. The two chemistries work against each other thereby cancelling there modes of action.

American Dog Tick (Larvae)

YoungnymphtickThis photograph is taken of an American dog tick in it’s larvae stage. This stage is commonly referred to as seed ticks. It has 6 legs in this stage. As you can see, it is very small. It must have a blood meal to go to the nymph stage of it’s metamorphosis, where it will have 8 legs. It can live up to a year in this stage if a blood meal is not available.

American Soft Tick

AmericansofttickThe American soft ticks are found generally in Northeastern US and not in our area. Soft ticks lack a scutum or hard dorsal plate, are soft bodied, and the mouthparts are ventral and cannot be seen from above. The soft ticks are mainly nocturnal, feeding rapidly during the night and concealing themselves during the day in cracks near the nest of their host. The female soft tick indulges in several blood meals and generally lays small batches of eggs after each feeding until 100 to 200 total eggs are laid. The eggs develop into nymphs that may molt several times before reaching the adult stage. Different species of soft tick can be found in poultry houses, inside the ears of rabbits and in bat caves or rodent burrows. Soft ticks are generally not found on man.

Black Legged Tick (Female)

BlackleggedtickThe Black Legged tick also known as a deer tick is not commonly found in our area. They are mostly found in the mid western US. However when traveling to these areas, beware of transporting them home. A fully developed unengorged nymph is about 1/4″ in length and a fully engorged adult, about 1/2″ in length. According to the CDC, they are a vector of Lyme disease, Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Stay away from its environment. Apply an over the counter pyrethroid to your clothing and your pets coat. Wear light colored clothes to spot them easier. After leaving this environment, launder all clothes as hot as possible and heat dry.

Engorged Tick

EngorgedtickThis is an engorged female Deer tick. Once she is engorged, she is ready to mate.

Lone Star Tick (Female)

LonestartickThe Lone Star tick is found only in the southeastern US. They are about a 1/3″ in diameter unengorged and a 1/2″ in diameter engorged. They are more common in rural wooded areas, usually near water. They are found on birds and small mammals. According to the CDC, they are a vector of Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky mountain spotted fever and Southern tick-associated rash illness. DO-IT-YOURSELF: Stay away from the ticks environment. Before entering these areas, apply an over the counter pyrethroid made for your pets coat and your clothes. Wear light colored clothes to spot them easier. After leaving this environment, launder all clothes as hot as possible and heat dry. If you have a pet with this tick, we recommend Frontline® for there control. Do not apply any pryrethroids to the pet at the same time as this will only counteract the method of control in the Frontline®.

Verify Emergency Pest Patrol, LLC