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FLEAS & TICKS

FLEAS

Physical Characteristics

There are about 2,250 species of fleas.

Fleas are small, wingless, brown to black, blood sucking insects.

Fleas have flattened bodies with spines that are aimed backwards. This enables them to move rapidly and efficiently through the body hair of an animal.

They have piercing-sucking mouth parts that are somewhat like a "siphon".

Fleas can jump 7"- 8" vertically and 14"- 16" horizontally which is 200 times their own height. The equivalent of a 6 foot man jumping 120 feet.

Flea larvae have been observed to burrow to a maximum depth of 1/2 inch.

Flea larvae will crawl several inches to reach cover and escape bright light and feed on dried fecal blood.

The adult flea will spend 99% of its life on a host animal but eggs fall off and thereby spread infestation. Fleas resting in their cocoons come out in response to vibration from vacuum cleaners, people or pets moving about.

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Reproductive Facts

The fleas life cycle is: egg, larvae, pupae, adult. The time required to complete a cycle depends on temperature, humidity, and the food available to the developing insect.

The female flea can lay 300 to 500 eggs in her lifetime. Flea eggs are about 1/50th of an inch in length.

Flea eggs hatch in 1 - 6 days and fleas can develop from egg to adult in 17 - 21 days.

The female mates only once, she lays her eggs loose on the host animal and must have a blood meal before she can lay fertile eggs.

The adult flea can live up to 20 weeks in the pupa case.

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Feeding Habits

Flea larvae stay very near the surface to be close to their food supply - adult flea feces and other animal derived material.

Flea larvae primary food is feces of the adult flea, but will feed on other materials such as pet dander, flea eggs, injured larvae, and proglottids - the shed body segments of the dog and cat tapeworm.

Adult fleas can live for months without food.

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Disease Factors

Fleas can carry bubonic plague and murine typhus. Some fleas, especially those from squirrels in the Sierras, still carry "The Plague."

About 75% of fleas are associated with rodents.

Dog and cats can get tapeworms from the flea. The egg containing proglottids exit the host's body via the anus, These tiny egg packets dry to form what looks like sesame seeds. Flea larvae chew into them, swallowing tapeworm eggs. These eggs hatch in a flea larva and form a cyst within its muscles. Here the tapeworm waits for the larva to metamorphose, and the adult flea to be eaten by the cat or dog during grooming. When the dead flea is digested the tapeworm is released.

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Prevention and Control

Fleas require a complete 3 step treatment in order to effectively eliminate the entire population.

  • 1. The entire yard is treated with special attention spent on the areas fleas are likely to occur such as shady vegetation under decks where animals rest.
  • 2. The interior of the home is treated with a combination of residual materials and Insect Growth Regulators.
  • 3. Pet treatments to prevent reinfestation of the animal and home.

Preventions and Treatment

Burge Pest Control's Residential Power Protection Plan not only provides a residual barrier for the control of fleas, we can also advise you on how best to maintain a flea free environment.

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TICKS

Physical Characteristics

Ticks are blood-sucking parasites of mammals, birds and reptiles.

There are two types of ticks, hard and soft. Hard ticks have only one nymphal stage while soft ticks have more than one. Some have up to eight.

They have eight legs like the spider.

They are most common in spring and late summer.

They are found commonly in transitional areas between woods and meadows or mown and unmown grasses.

They are related to mites.

They have a complete life cycle, usually mate on the host animal and the hard tick male dies after mating with female. Eggs are usually laid in cracks or crevices.

The most common tick to our area is the American Dog Tick. They lay 4000 to 6500 eggs usually in June or July which then take 36 to 57 days to hatch.

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Feeding Habits

Larvae and nymphs feed on small rodents and even lizards. Adults seek larger mammalian hosts such as humans, sheep, cattle, dogs, cats, etc.

The larva is capable of laying in wait for up to 8 months without feeding, while adults can go 1/2 to 1 year without food.

Blood is their main meal and both males and females feed only on the blood of vertebrates.

Ticks can be classified by their feeding requirements. There are single host ticks, two host ticks, three host ticks, and multi-host ticks.

Most hard ticks are three host ticks in which each of the three life stages leaves the host after engorging.

Most soft ticks are multi-host ticks.

Ticks sit on foliage or branches and wait for a host to happen by, then they attach themselves to the host for a blood meal.

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Disease Factors

Ticks surpass all of the arthropods in the number and variety of diseases which they transmit to domestic animals. Only mosquitoes transmit more diseases to humans.

Some of the diseases carried by ticks include Colorado Tick Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Powassan encephalitis, Relapsing Fever, Endemic Typhus and many others.

Ticks are also transmitters of a disease called tick paralysis. A toxin from the ovaries of the tick is transmitted to the victim as long as the tick is engorging. Symptoms include a progressive paralysis from the legs upward and can result in death for humans if the tick is not discovered and removed.

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Prevention and Treatment

Most infestations of ticks can be controlled with Burge Pest Control's Residential Power Protection Plan in conjunction with the treatment of your pets.

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