Ordinarily, parasite insects such as fleas and ticks are only found in pets like cats and dogs, and they rarely affect humans. If you have a dog or a cat that keeps on scratching, you should check for signs of a pest infestation. Some animals suffer from an abnormal skin condition caused by pest bites. A flea bite is intensely itchy and leaves a reddish swollen spot that could become a rash especially when continually scratched.
Occasionally, however, fleas can bite the pet’s owner too, or other members of the household. Also, fleas and ticks are vectors that could infect people with harmful diseases. Incidentally, people infected with the tick-borne Lyme disease also can develop a reddish bull’s-eye rash. That is why, when removing a tick from the animal, you should never touch its blood to avoid being contaminated.
What are Fleas and Ticks?
Fleas are wingless insects with mouth parts especially designed for sucking blood. They are external parasites and live by hematophagy, which is feeding on the blood of birds and mammals. There are more than 2,000 species of fleas worldwide which include: a) dog flea, b) cat flea, c) human flea, d) northern rat flea, e) moorhen flea, and f) oriental rat flea.
Ticks, on the other hand, are small arachnids similar to mites. Like fleas, they are external parasites that also live by feeding on the blood of birds, mammals and sometimes amphibians and reptiles. These pests are carriers of various diseases including Lyme disease, Colorado tick fever, and Q fever. Some species of ticks are even intrinsically venomous and may cause paralysis.
The best way to control pests is by: a) practicing necessary hygiene for your pets through regular bathing, grooming, and providing them with a healthy diet, and b) maintaining a clean environment in your homes. Constant vacuuming especially the floors, carpets and walls, can help remove the pests from your home. Pests are also avoided outside by regularly mowing your lawns, raking leaves and trimming shrubs where possible.
You can likewise control fleas and ticks by implementing pest control measures such as the application of pesticides or fumigation. Bug bombs or insect foggers, as they are sometimes called, effectively kill pests with just one application. But this should be done by meticulously following the instructions, or to be safe, by letting an expert do the fogging for you.
Fleas can easily transfer from one host to another. Their bite can cause soreness and itching. In applying skin treatments, you put them on your pet’s back. They work well over a period of one month and kills ticks and fleas. Other treatments target the eggs.
Cedar Oil, a harmless natural substance is effective for eradicating infestation in dogs, but the use of this and some essential oils may be unsafe to cats especially if they contain phenols. Other commercial products are mixed with pesticides such as Permethrin,Imidacloprid, and (S)-methoprene. All these products can effectively fight against tick and flea infestations but since cats are unable to metabolize some compounds used in the products, you must exercise care and caution in using them.
For humans, bites can be treated using anti-itch creams, usually hydrocortisone or antihistamines. Calamine lotion has also been proven effective for itching.
If fleas and ticks are ignored, the problem of infestation could be detrimental not only to the pets, but even to the owners themselves. It is therefore important that your pets should be free from these pests. Preventive measures are best in avoiding infestation but when your pets are already infected, it is necessary that pests be eradicated immediately.
As previously discussed, fleas and ticks are significantly removed with new medications. In addition, other products may be used effectively, as follows:
Finally, always remember to consult your veterinarian before fighting fleas and ticks with new medications. That way, you can be sure that the product you are using is thoroughly safe and effective.