The spring and summer months are upon us, which means so is flea and tick season. For Baton Rouge residents, fleas and ticks never really go away because the winters are mild and the pests can still thrive. Still, spring and summer are when these pests are at their highest numbers, so you’ll need to work hard to keep your home and pets free of these nuisances. Fleas and ticks are persistent, but with the help of a professional exterminator and simple steps you can take at home, you can keep these blood suckers at bay.
Why Fleas and Ticks are Stubborn Pests
Fleas have a complicated life cycle and can survive in the outdoors in temperatures as low as 30 degrees. As long as the flea finds a suitable host to feed off of, it will stay warm and healthy through the winter season. This host can be a wild animal or your beloved pet. When springtime rolls around and the temperatures climb into the 60s, the growth and reproduction of fleas is at an all time high. Interestingly, flea pupae can remain dormant for up to one year waiting for the temperatures to be ideal.
When the temperatures are warm, the pupae will emerge from their cocoons, resulting in a mass of fleas. They then swarm around the first host they find, which may be your pet. Since fleas can survive the Baton Rouge winter, they do linger in the area over the colder months and become more aggressive in the spring and summer. Only low humidity and temperatures lower than 30 degrees will impact their life cycle. This is what makes fleas stubborn pests.
Ticks are also able to survive cool winter temperatures, providing that they find a host to feed off of. They aren’t quite as hearty as fleas since they can be killed off when temperature reach 45 degrees. However, it’s still important to protect pets during the winter months because ticks will thrive under the right conditions.
Disease Carriers for Humans and Pets
Fleas and ticks are not just nuisances; they also spread disease and can infect animals with parasites. Some of the most common things they leave behind include tapeworm, dermatitis and allergies. Ticks are also known for spreading Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Pet owners often catch wind that their pet may be dealing with fleas or ticks when they started scratching, licking and chewing incessantly. Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors are at most risk, but even indoor pets need year-round protection.
Fleas and ticks must have a host to stay alive, but they also live much of their life cycle in the environment. This is perhaps what gives them added resilience; people think that if they can’t see them, they must be gone. However, they do a good job of lingering in the environment and then feeding off their hosts, which can be anything from a mouse to a human.
Dealing with Fleas and Ticks around the Home
While you can’t eradicate fleas and ticks completely, there are steps you can take to minimize the problem:
- Practice year-round flea and tick control by using a veterinarian-recommended product for every pet in your household. Even indoor pets are at risk.
- Remove brush debris from around the home. This prevent animals from building nests and bringing around ticks and fleas they may be carrying.
- Avoid having old upholstered furniture outside your home where your pets like to lie. These are prime places where fleas build nests.
- Keep your home well sealed. Place screens over attics and ensure that all screens over doors and windows are free of rips, tears or holes.
- Plant rosemary, sage and garlic plants around the home to make the area smell good but keep fleas and ticks at bay.
- Keep the home clean by vacuuming and dusting regularly.
- Contact a professional exterminator like Dugas Pest Control to learn about the severity of your tick or flea problem.