Flea and Tick Identification & Prevention

What are fleas and ticks?

Fleas and ticks are types of external parasitic pests that feed on the blood of both people and animals. Fleas are about the size of a speck of dirt and have hard, flat bodies that are shiny and dark reddish-brown in color. Fleas are wingless, but have mighty back legs that allow them to jump quickly out of the way to danger. Fleas also have specialized spines on their mouth, back, and legs to prevent them from falling off of their hosts. Ticks have oval-shaped bodies. They use their specialized mouthparts to grasp and pierce the skin of their victims and insert a feeding tube to suck out the blood.

a flea crawling on a human inside of a home in fairway kansas

Some of the most common species of ticks living in the Kansas City Metro area are American dog, black-legged, brown dog, and lone star ticks.

American dog ticks
American dog ticks are a larger species of tick and are brownish with whitish-gray or yellow markings on them. 

Black-legged ticks
Black-legged ticks are a very small species of tick that are brownish-orange in color with dark gray to black legs. These ticks are also often referred to as "deer" ticks.

Brown dog ticks
Brown dog ticks are reddish-brown and have no distinctive markings. After feeding, they turn a steel blue-gray color.

Lone star ticks
Lone star ticks are identified by their markings. Females have a distinctive white spot on their back, while males have multiple smaller white spots on their backs.

Are fleas and ticks dangerous?

Both fleas and ticks are dangerous and are capable of spreading diseases and parasites to both people and animals. Fleas are responsible for transmitting the parasitic tapeworm. Also, their saliva can create an allergic reaction in some people and pets that causes severe itchy dermatitis. Itchy dermatitis can lead to a secondary infection that requires medical attention. Pets that are heavily infested with ticks can become severely anemic. Ticks are responsible for spreading a wide range of diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and ehrlichiosis.

Why do I have a flea and tick problem?

People often come into contact with both fleas and ticks after they are introduced onto properties by wild animals like skunks, squirrels, deer, raccoons, foxes, and opossums. Once on your property, they remain until a new host passes by that they can attach themselves to and begin feeding on. Unfortunately, the new host could be you, your kids, or pets, who then introduce these biting blood-feeders into your home. Additionally, you could come into contact with either ticks or fleas in public places like campgrounds, parks, dog parks, vet offices, and grooming facilities.

Where will I find fleas and ticks?

Ticks live outside in areas of tall grasses, dense vegetation, in ditches, along ponds, or the edges of woods. Most species of ticks are unable to survive indoors. The exception is the brown dog tick. They don't require moist soil for their eggs to develop, which means they can complete their entire life-cycle indoors and become a problem inside of any home. Fleas live outside in shady, moist, or sandy areas but commonly find their way into a home on pets or people's clothing. Adult fleas spend most of their lives on a host, laying eggs in the fur.

Fleas can also find their way into homes inside of used furniture or rugs that are already infested with their eggs, larvae, or adults. Fleas can live successfully inside and are prolific breeders; meaning just a few fleas can quickly turn into hundreds or thousands. Fleas thrive in warm, humid climates and at temperatures of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do I get rid of fleas and ticks?

To eliminate fleas and ticks from your home or property, partner with a professional pest control expert. At Augustine Exterminators we provide the advanced modern methods needed to solve your unique pest problems and prevent future ones. Our trained and certified specialists offer homeowners effective and affordable flea and tick control services. To learn more about the residential and commercial pest control services we provide throughout Kansas City Metro, call Augustine Exterminators today!

How can I prevent fleas and ticks in the future?

Fleas and ticks are problematic pests to guard against. There are some steps you can take to make your Kansas City Metro property less attractive.

  • Remove bird feeders from your property that could attract birds carrying fleas and ticks.

  • Trim back overgrown shrubs or bushes found on your property.

  • Place a stone barrier between wooded areas and your lawn.

  • Keep your front and back lawns cut short.

  • Regularly wash your pet's bedding.

  • Regularly bathe and groom your pets.

  • Don’t purchase used furniture or rugs to use in your home.

  • Your vet can place pets on a year-round flea and tick control program.

  • Inspect yourself, children, and pets for fleas and ticks after spending time outside.

  • Regularly vacuum your home, especially the areas of your home where your pets spend most of their time.


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