Flea & Tick Identification Guide

What are fleas & ticks?

Both fleas and ticks are biting pests. Using their specialized mouthparts, they bite through human and animal skin to consume blood meals and complete their life cycle. Fleas tend to feed on one host throughout their life, while ticks tend to have multiple hosts. Both fleas and ticks are wingless and quite small in size. Their dark-colored bodies allow fleas and ticks to easily hide, especially in the fur of an animal host. Fleas have strong back legs they use to jump onto hosts or to move out of the way of danger. Ticks cannot jump, so they lay in wait for a host to cross their path.

dog tick

Are fleas & ticks dangerous?

Dog and cat fleas are present in our area and, despite their names, feed on various hosts, including pets, rodents, wild animals, and people. Many people and animals are allergic to their saliva and react to their bites by developing a raised, red, itchy rash. Animals with a large infestation can develop anemia and become very ill. Fleas can also spread tapeworm and diseases like typhus to their hosts as they feed. In addition to health risks, having fleas jumping around your home is unpleasant and can make you feel uncomfortable.

Ticks are vectors of many diseases that can make people ill. Both blacklegged ticks and American dog ticks live throughout Massachusetts. Blacklegged ticks (deer ticks) spread Lyme disease as well as ehrlichiosis and babesiosis. American dog ticks spread tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Having large populations of ticks living in your yard makes it difficult to enjoy your outdoor space without always worrying about ticks using you and your pets as a food source.

Why do I have a flea & tick problem?

Fleas prefer to feed on animal hosts and are the most common ectoparasite found on cats and dogs. However, these tiny terrors don’t just affect pet owners; fleas can find their way into any yard or home on the back of a rodent or other wild animal host. We can also introduce them to our homes on furniture or rugs infested with adult fleas, eggs, or larvae. Once inside, these fast breeders will quickly take over and be difficult to control and eliminate.

Ticks are also continually introduced onto properties by wild animals and attach themselves to anything that brushes past them, including you, your kids, or your pets! Ticks usually aren’t a problem inside our homes because most species cannot complete their life cycle indoors.

Where will I find fleas & ticks?

Outside, fleas that are waiting for a host to come by that they can jump onto are typically under leaf piles, woodpiles, and dark, damp areas under decks and shrubbery. If fleas are in your home, in addition to being on your pets, you will find them in upholstered furniture, rugs, bedding, and in the cracks of floors.

Ticks that are waiting outside for a host to come by rest on the top of tall grass, weeds, and other plants. We often come into contact with these pests when walking along fence lines, at the edges of wooded paths, in fields, and along grassy areas. They are also problematic wherever pets spend a lot of time, like dog parks and campgrounds.

How do I get rid of fleas & ticks?

Our yards and homes should not be a place that fleas and ticks call home. At Assurance Pest Solutions, we understand how important it is to rid properties of these pests as quickly as possible. We offer prompt and reliable pest solutions to eliminate these biting pests from your yard or home.

With over 41 years in the pest control industry in Massachusetts, our family owned and operated company is dedicated to solving pest problems. If you would like to learn more about working with our knowledgeable staff to rid your property of fleas and ticks, reach out to Assurance Pest Solutions today!

How can I prevent fleas & ticks in the future?

If you live in Waltham, Newton, Needham, or surrounding areas, Assurance Pest Solutions can help keep your property free of fleas and ticks. In addition to our pest control solutions, the following tips will help prevent problems with fleas and ticks:

  • Remove flea and tick hiding spots from your yard like tall grass, weeds, dense landscaping.
  • Don’t allow leaf piles to stay on your property.
  • Avoid attracting wild animals to your yard by keeping lids on trash cans and removing bird feeders.
  • If you own pets, make sure they are on a year-round flea and tick preventative program.
  • Regularly vacuum your home to pick up stray fleas and ticks.
  • Wash pet bedding on a high heat setting.
  • When spending time in wooded areas, always make sure to stay in the center of trails.
  • After spending time outside in wooded areas, fields, or other areas of dense vegetation, always inspect yourself and your pets for fleas and ticks before going back inside.

Learn more about our home pest control and commercial pest control services.


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