If you have pets, the last thing you want is for your beloved animals to suffer. Unfortunately for many of our four-legged friends, fleas and ticks can make life harder.
Most people know that they should keep their pets away from other animals that show signs of infestations. You may be unaware, however, that the danger can start right in your own yard. Here’s how to take action and keep your surroundings flea- and tick-free.
A Primer on Fleas and Ticks
Although fleas are six-legged insects and ticks are eight-legged arachnids, both are parasites that survive by feeding on the nutrients found in other animals’ blood. They can prey on domesticated and wild mammals in addition to birds, humans and other species.
Fleas are generally less than one-eighth of an inch long. They’re identifiable not only by their dark color but also because they can use their longer back legs to jump many times further than their own body lengths. You might observe this behavior when you attempt to comb fleas out of your pet’s fur. These pests usually find their hosts by jumping onto them.
Ticks come in a wider variety of shapes, colors and sizes, but they can't jump or fly. Instead, most exhibit a behavior called “questing” where they sit on a plant waiting to grab a food source using their front legs, and they’re usually discovered after they’ve already attached to you or your pet. Once a tick bites, it usually remains latched onto to its host for days or weeks as it consumes blood and swells up.
The Hazards of Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks are well-known disease vectors. Fleas transmit bubonic plague, typhus and a number of other ailments. Ticks carry serious illnesses like Lyme disease and many viruses. Humans can also get sick from fleas that bite them after biting nearby animals, and being bitten can cause ongoing skin irritation.
Keeping Fleas and Ticks Out of Your Yard
There are many ways to reduce your family’s potential for exposure to fleas, ticks and similar parasites. Fleas prefer shade and low humidity, and ticks use tall grass and branches as their perches while they’re questing for hosts. Keeping your yard mowed and trimmed might make it less attractive to these pests.
Eliminating debris and garbage that could attract pest-carrying rodents is also a good idea. Professionals can also treat your yard with chemicals or environmentally friendly species that prey on flea and tick larvae.
The best way to keep your Atlanta Metro area yard free of fleas and ticks is to talk to an expert. Each infestation is unique, so the solutions that work for your neighbor’s yard may not suit yours. Discover more by reaching out to a State Pest Control professional today.