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Learn More About Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and Ticks

If you own pets, you have probably encountered fleas and ticks at least once in your life. They are considered as “external parasites” because they are located outside of the body. If your dogs and cats are infected with these, it can cause irritation on their skin. In worst-case scenarios, it can transmit infectious diseases.

Fleas can transmit disease to humans. For example: typhus and plague. When it comes to pets like cats, they can also transmit infection with Bartonella bacteria, also known as the “cat scratch disease” which they can then pass to their owners. Tapeworms also use fleas as hosts that can eventually infect you and your pet.

On the other hand, tick borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tick paralysis.

Lifecycle, Diet & All

Fleas and Ticks Characteristic

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Fleas and Tick 's Lifecycle

Like most insects, fleas go through four stages in life. They begin as an egg, where they are white in colour and approximately 0.05 centimetres in size. An adult flea lays its egg on the hairs of its host, which causes the growing of flea populations that will eventually lead to a flea infestation. It takes at least 2 to 7 days for an egg to hatch.

The next stage is larvae. In this period, they will begin to form hair on their bodies. They will eat organic matters and the blood found in adult flea feces. The flea larvae stage will last at least 2 weeks. After the larvae forms a cocoon, the flea will develop into a pupa. This process can take 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the conditions of the environment. Finally, it will reach the adult stage where they can live for at least 1 year.

Ticks also have 4 stages in life. First is the egg, which is brown in colour and is laid on the ground. A female tick can lay 1000 to a whopping 8000 eggs in one go! But after giving birth, it will die. It takes 2 to 3 weeks before they form into a larva.

During the larva stage, a tick will develop 3 pairs of legs. After 3 to 13 days, it will become a nymph, which looks more like an adult tick. During this period, they already have 4 pairs of legs. A nymph will attach itself to a host to feed for at least 4 to 8 days. Afterwards, they will molt and transform into an adult tick. It takes about 2 months for a tick to fully develop and they can live for up to 3 years.

Fleas and Ticks's Identification

Fleas are tiny, wingless insects that belong to the order of Siphonaptera. Their body is covered with strong bristles and is divided into three parts. First is the head, second is the thorax and last, the abdomen.

Adult fleas only measure 0.1 to 0.32 centimetres in length, which can make them hard to see. Unlike mosquitos where only the female ones bite and suck blood, both sexes of fleas bite and drink blood from their host. Although they do not have wings, studies report that they have the ability to jump as far as 13 inches.

Meanwhile, ticks have oval-shaped bodies. They have four pairs of legs, and have no antenna. A fully developed tick can measure up to 3 centimetres. However, most species are 1.5 centimetres in size.

They do not have the same ability as other insects as they cannot fly nor jump. Nevertheless, they can climb on grasses and wait in a position called “questing”. Once a host passes, they will simply climb aboard.

Fleas and Ticks 's Diet

Fleas consider any warm-blooded bodies as a food source. However, they prefer hairy animals like dogs, cats, rabbits, rats and the likes. They usually eat at least once a day. Ticks however, can feed on a wide range of hosts from mammals, reptiles, amphibians and even birds! At every stage of their life, a tick will need a new host. They usually feed twice – during the night and day.

Learn to know when you need fleas and tick control

Signs of Fleas and Tick infestation

Fleas and ticks problems should not be ignored. It can affect not only your pets, but also the people in your homes as well. Look at for these signs:

Itching Pet

As discussed, fleas and ticks prefer to feed on animal hosts. If you notice that your pet is constantly scratching their skin, they might be infected with fleas or ticks.

Live Presence

When fleas and ticks find new homes, it is possible for you to see them on areas where your pets are usually around. For example, their kennels or the bedding where they sleep.

Bite

These pests will also bite humans. A flea bite is much itchier compared to a mosquito’s bite and will develop rashes or hives if your skin is extra sensitive. Tick bites are not that itchy so it can be harder to detect them, but it will still leave red bumps on your skin.

These are just some of the fleas and ticks can be found in Singapore

Types of Fleas and Ticks

Dog Flea

Despite its name, this type of flea can infect both cats and dogs. It has a flat body, giving it the ability the move easily on its host’s body. Additionally, its spine project backwards. This helps them to hold on to the animal when it is being groomed.

Cat Flea

Cat fleas are reddish-brown. Their hind legs are very powerful so they can run and jump on hairs and furs. Size-wise they are at least 0.1 to 0.3 centimetres long. After feeding on a host, their colour can turn reddish-black.

Dog Tick

Both sexes of dog ticks have similar characteristics. They are reddish-brown in colour and have flat as well as oval bodies. It is usually found indoors, especially on dog cages. Although very rare, it will bite humans if no host is found.

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