Category Archives: Fleas

Fleas & Ticks? Get Tips on How to Keep Your Columbus Home Flea and Tick Free

During the Spring and Summer months, residents of Columbus, OH may notice a proliferation of pests in and around their homes. These months are particularly high in pest activity due to the reproductive habits and behavioral traits of many of Columbus’ common pests. Ticks and fleas are no exception with April to September being prime months for both of these ghastly parasites to inflict the most damage. In fact, during the peak summer months (June, July and August) the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) receives as many as 30,000 reported cases of Lyme disease, one of the most potentially serious tick-borne illnesses. These numbers may actually be as much as 10 times higher than what is reported as ticks and fleas are very active during this time, coinciding with the vast droves of people that spend these months engaged in outdoor activities.

Fleas and ticks can indeed pose a challenging pest control problem in the Columbus, OH area affecting both pet and non-pet owners. Here, Truly Nolen of Columbus, OH takes a closer look at the potential dangers of fleas and ticks, as well as provides tips for identification, control and special concerns for parents and pet owners.

Fleas & Ticks – What’s the difference?

FleaFleas are blood sucking parasites that are typically no more than 1/8 of an inch and are small and flat. The most common varieties feed off the blood of mammals, which means that our beloved dogs and cats (as well as us humans!) are at risk of being bitten. Though microscopic, fleas can be spotted on pets, but will move quickly to get out of sight, including jumping up to 7 inches in the air!

TickTicks on the other hand, are slightly larger and are part of the Arthropod family. This means, that they are technically considered to be Arachnids and share 8 legs in common with the spider. Their bodies can be hard or soft, and their sharp mouths are used to attach themselves to their prey. A female tick can often draw enough blood from her victim to make her swell to many times her weight and size.

In a nutshell, the main differences between fleas and ticks are:

  • Fleas can jump and will bite and then move quickly to the next area. On the other hand, ticks are slow and will crawl over their victim and can nestle in one spot and feed for days before falling off.
  • Flea bites can cause itching and dermatitis, while ticks should be taken more seriously as they are able to transmit diseases.

Dangers of Fleas & Ticks

For pet owners and non- pet owners, the dangers of fleas and ticks can have adverse effects on us all. Truly Nolen of Columbus, OH takes a microscopic look at some of these more common dangers including:

Tapeworm

Tapeworms are long, flat worms that attach themselves for extended periods of time, to the intestines of both humans and animals such as dogs. Tapeworms can reside within a flea, which can then be transmitted to another host, such as your pet.

Plague Bacteria

Although said to have been wiped out centuries ago, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the United States has about seven annual cases of the plague, over 80% of which have been in the bubonic form. Plague bacteria is transmitted to humans from the bite of an infected flea, that more often than not, has moved on from its previous host, that of an infected rodent.

In a recent case, a young boy was diagnosed with plague bacteria after visiting Yosemite National Park in California.

Lyme Disease

Carried by deer ticks, Lyme disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called ‘spirochete’ that is transmitted to both humans and animals when bitten by these ticks. If Lyme disease is caught in the early stages, it can be cured; however the danger in the disease lies in transmission through the bloodstream and into the nervous system and joints. If left untreated for an extended time, symptoms can be persistent and last for as long as several years after treatment is finally administered.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 150,000 cases of Lyme disease have been reported since 1982. Lyme disease has been prevalent in both northeast and upper mid-west areas because of white-footed mice and deer, two of the deer tick’s preferred hosts.

Tips for identification and control

flea-tick
For both pet owners, as well as parents, knowing what to look out for if you suspect your home may have a flea or tick problem, is important for the safety and well being of your entire family.

Flea/Tick Identification in pets

For the health and well being of your beloved pets, taking note of the warning signs could help eradicate the problem before it worsens:

  • Intense itching, scratching or licking
  • Red, irritated skin or scabs
  • Droppings (dark specks) seen on the skin of your pet, in-between the fur

Flea/Tick Identification in humans

Unlike a mosquito bite that will swell in size after being bitten, flea or tick bites remain small but offer several warning signs including:

  • Several small, red lumps aligned in groups of three or four
  • A red “halo” around the center of the bite
  • Bites on parts of the body that are usually exposed, such as ankles
  • Signs of a rash developing near the bite

Flea/Tick control

At Truly Nolen Columbus, OH, we provide flea and tick control for both residential and commercial customers. Though professional help is recommended, we also encourage homeowners to take preventative measures that can help a potential flea or tick problem from getting out of hand.

  • For pet owners, fleas can easily be transported from the exterior of the home, to inside. It is important that pets are consistently checked, as well as taken to the vet right away if there is a suspicion of fleas or ticks on the animals.
  • Pet linens should be washed frequently in hot, soapy water and put to air dry in the sun.
  • For homeowners without pets, special attention should be paid to the exterior environment such as decks and yards. Fleas and ticks stay away from the sun, so shaded areas should be kept clutter free to avoid providing them with nesting sites. Since fleas like tall grass, keeping your grass consistently cut prevents these parasites from finding places to live.

Truly Nolen Columbus, OH is here to help homeowners battle their flea and tick problems. We remind residents that these parasites do not only invade spaces where pets are present! Pet owners and parents should be vigilant especially during the summer months when fleas and ticks are anxious to hide from the sun, and find a shadier place to call home. Whether you have pets or not, if you suspect that fleas and ticks may have invaded your space, contact your Truly Nolen Columbus team today at 614-448-5030 to schedule an inspection.

Enjoy Your Summer Free From Fleas and Ticks

Summer can be a great time for you and your pet to enjoy the outdoors. Here’s some information to protect you and your pets against fleas and ticks.

What Are Fleas and Ticks?

Although there are more than 2,000 species of parasitic fleas, the most common ones feed off mammals, including dogs, cats, and humans. Fleas are wingless, dark colored bugs that are very small (1/16 to 1/8 inch). Since fleas do not have wings, they travel from host to host by jumping, and can jump up to 7 inches in the air and several thousand times in a row! Pets living in warm, humid climates and those living outdoors are most vulnerable to fleas.

Ticks are most often found around your dog’s neck, in the ears, in the folds between the legs and the body, and between the toes. Ticks are capable of spreading infectious diseases like Lyme disease, so quick removal is important.

Protecting Your Pet

cutedogPrevention is key. Talk with your veterinarian to determine the best available flea and tick prevention method for your pet. There are a variety of products on the market including monthly topical treatments and oral medications. It is much easier to prevent an infestation than to deal with a house full of unwanted pests.

Every pet responds to flea bites differently. For some dogs allergic to flea saliva, a bite can make them so miserable that they bite and scratch themselves raw. Other pets may have a less severe reaction. Left untreated, chronic infestations not only make your dog or cat miserable but also can lead to infections and more serious flea-related diseases. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of flea infestations, along with prompt treatment, will help you keep your pet and their environment a healthy one.

What to Look For: Signs of a Flea or Tick Infestation

Pets are first infested by fleas when they are outside or when they are in contact with another animal that already has fleas. Wildlife, including opossums, raccoons, and skunks, and even untreated cats and dogs can deposit flea eggs into a yard. It may be possible to reduce flea infestations by limiting the access these animals have around your house and yard.

Flea infestations are most easily confirmed by examining your pet. Your dog or cat itching more than usual may be an indicator of fleas or ticks. However, if you are unsure, check with your vet. Not all scratching is necessarily a sign of a flea infestation.

Although they are tiny, you can see fleas scurrying along the surface of your pet’s skin. Fleas do not like light and prefer hiding in your pet’s fur. Their favorite spots include the base of the ears and the rump (just in front of the tail). Look closely at places with less hair like on your pet’s belly and inner thighs; this will provide you with the best chances of spotting a flea.

You can also part your pet’s fur in several places and look for tiny black specks, like pepper scattered on the skin surface. These black specks are known as “flea dirt” and are actually flea feces left on your pet’s coat.

Ticks attach to the body and feed by sucking blood. They do not jump like fleas, but crawl around rather slowly. They climb up grass and plants and hold their legs up to sense passing hosts. When a warm-blooded animal walks by, the adult tick crawls onto them and begins feeding. Ticks can attach themselves to any part of the dog’s skin, but are generally found around the ears, between the toes, and sometimes in the armpits. It is important to promptly remove any ticks to prevent tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Getting Rid Of Fleas: Indoor and Outdoor Control & Treatment Methods

Once you’ve established your pet is infested with fleas or ticks, time is of the essence. But be sure to take things one step at a time. First, treat your pet; consult with your veterinarian to find the best treatment option. While your pet is at the vet for its treatment, you will also need to check your home as there’s a chance the infestation may have spread. Your pet and home should be treated simultaneously in order to break the flea’s life cycle.

Fleas: hard to see, difficult to eliminate. Fleas are a formidable pest and have several adaptations making them difficult to kill. Adult fleas can continue to reproduce and thrive on your pet and in your home until you break their life cycle. Under optimal conditions, the flea can complete its entire life cycle – from egg to larva, cocoon, and then adult – in just 14 days. This results in tens of thousands of new fleas to combat! Flea eggs are typically left deep down in your carpet, in your bedding, upholstery, or cracks in the floor. After they hatch in two to 14 days, your problem starts all over again.

Understanding their life cycle is crucial to understanding the importance of treating both the host animal as well as the indoor and outdoor areas. Although many products are available to treat fleas and your pet’s surroundings, the most effective products are those containing both an ingredient to kill adult fleas and an ingredient to kill the other life cycle stages. Simply sprinkling some flea powder or placing a flea color on your pet will not work, as these methods just go after the fleas that you see. That’s not enough to prevent the infestation from repeating itself.

Treating Your Pet

There are many safe and effective products available that will help eradicate fleas and ticks. Consult with your veterinarian, who will confirm the diagnosis and discuss choosing the right flea treatment product and other appropriate treatment options. It is important to tailor your treatment to your pet and their environment, since certain products in combination can be hazardous to your pet’s health. With any treatment it is necessary to treat all of the animals in the home. It is very important not to use products on your dog that are intended for cats (and vice versa). Your veterinarian can also determine the best plan for preventing fleas in the future and ensure your animals’ health and well-being.

Secondly, you will need to thoroughly clean and treat your home – inside and out – especially those areas where your pet spends a lot of time. Fortunately, there are several safe and effective treatment options.

Treating the Indoor Environment

Treat the entire house.

  • Thoroughly Vacuum. First, thoroughly vacuum the entire house, including hard surfaces. Be sure to get under everything – furniture, rugs, etc. You may also need to vacuum and treat furniture. Don’t forget your car, motor home, or anywhere else your pet has been. Once you are finished, immediately seal your vacuum bag in a plastic bag and discard it completely outside of the house and garage. This prevents the fleas from crawling back out and infesting your home or garage again. If your home has a central vacuum system, then you must empty the canister into a sealed bag and dispose of it outside the home and garage. Vacuuming and shampooing or steam cleaning the carpet can kill some of the larvae however it may also leave some live fleas. Some sort of chemical treatment may be necessary.
  • Hot Wash. Make sure to wash all linens and pet beds in order to kill possible fleas. You should wash and dry any bedding at the hottest temperature it will tolerate or discard it in an outside trash receptacle if washing is not feasible.
  • Call the Experts. If you continue to find more evidence of fleas, it might be time to call in a professionally trained pest removal expert. Flea infestations can be difficult to eliminate. It is a good idea to call your pest control expert in order to rid you and your home of fleas.

Treating the Outdoor Environment

Many people sometimes forget their pets also spend time outside in the yard. If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, this will be where the majority of the fleas are located. In many parts of the United States, freezing weather helps to control outside flea populations. But in warm and humid climates, the flea battle may rage year-round. Fleas prefer cool, shady, moist places and especially like to hide in shrubs, leaf litter, the bark dust of trees, and underneath lawn structures. They cannot tolerate hot sun for long periods of time and don’t do well in open grass or in a sunny yard.

It is always best to consult a professional pest control expert to treat the surrounding areas with a chemical spray. There are some simple steps you can take to make your yard a less desirable habitat for fleas and ticks to hide and lay their eggs.

  • Neatness Counts. Thoroughly clean your yard by removing yard and garden debris. Stacked wood, piles of bricks, and discarded pots are ideal breeding ground for fleas. The more clutter, the more places fleas can take refuge. Sweep off patios and lawn furniture. Don’t forget to check out your pet’s favorite places to hang out, including dog runs or kennels, spaces under decks or porches, beneath low-hanging shrubs, or along fence lines. Flea and tick larvae can remain within 50 feet of any cool, shady spots your pet favors.
  • Mowing and Pruning. A cheap and easy way to reduce flea and tick populations in your yard is to keep the grass, trees, and shrubs trimmed. Mowing your lawn to the proper height exposes the soil to sun, keeping it dry, and removes the longer grass fleas and ticks prefer to hide in. Prune bushes and trim trees to increase the amount of sunshine in your yard. Both fleas and ticks prefer moist environments, so be sure to avoid overwatering.

Dangers / Flea Bites and Treatment

Fleas are generally not picky about their meals – any warm-blooded animal will do. Typically, the flea takes its blood meal around the ankles of its human host. These bites usually appear as small red bumps that can be itchy and uncomfortable. In rare cases they can transmit the bacteria that can lead to serious illness. They also carry tapeworms that can infest your pet. If you are bitten, clean the bite with warm water and soap and ice the location to lessen swelling. You can also use anti-itch creams to lessen the discomfort. If at any time you feel that the bite is serious, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

These little guys can be big trouble. But by taking these simple steps, you can prevent any unwanted guests from invading your home and attacking your pets, and enjoy a safe, healthy, and happy summer.

Fixing your flea problem

Your pet may be a member of the family, but it's easy for them to unintentionally cause a big household problem. If you're not careful, your pet may wind up with fleas, which can quickly spread into an infestation. The pests multiply quickly, and ignoring the problem will only make it worse. Take time to learn about the signs of fleas so if your pet picks up the pests, you'll notice quickly and be able to handle the situation in a timely manner.

Finding the fleas
Many homeowners with flea infestations first notice the pests on their pet. If your pets are scratching themselves constantly, they may be trying to relieve the itch of flea bites. Adult fleas spend most of their lives on your dog or cat, and lay their eggs on the pet. Even though treating your pet is a crucial step in pest elimination, it's not the only one. The flea eggs fall off your pet throughout the day, and find their way into carpeting, furniture and cushions. Once these eggs hatch, the larvae will hide in your carpet, furniture or pet bedding and can create a serious infestation.

Treating the problem
If you suspect fleas have invaded your home, it's important to act quickly before the problem gets out of control. While a severe infestation may require professional help from an exterminator, there are steps you can take to combat a small problem before the insect control professionals arrive. Start by taking your pet to a veterinarian, who can let you know if the problem really is fleas. If fleas are the issue, your pet will be treated for the parasites, but that doesn't mean the fleas will flee your home.

After receiving a diagnosis, immediately wash or discard your pet's bedding, where most of the flea eggs have likely fallen off. It is important to vacuum the entire house, to try to eliminate any pests that are hiding deep in the carpet or in throw rugs. If your pet spends a lot of time on a particular piece of furniture, vacuum that as well. Some pets sleep in the same bed as their owners – if this is the case for you and your pet, wash all bedding in hot water to kill any pests that may be lurking in the sheets.

After you've completed a preliminary round of flea elimination, pest control professionals can handle the situation and eliminate any remaining pests from your home.