With the nicer weather upon us, it feels great to be able to spend more time outside. But when we do, there’s always a chance we’ll unintentionally bring some unwanted guests into our house with us. This is particularly true if you have outdoor pets. Like most insects, spring is the time when fleas and ticks become extremely active. What’s worse, once they’re in your home, they can be particularly tricky to get rid of.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to prevent them from getting in. And a few things to do in case that happens.
Preventing Flea and Tick Infestations
If you have pets, it’s absolutely essential to both get them a flea and tick collar as well as the drops. You can buy these over the counter, but the stronger, more effective ones are often only available at a veterinarians.
Of course, not having pets doesn’t mean you’re immune. If you spend time in a wooded area or place with tall grasses, there’s a good chance they might just hitch a ride on you! If you go hiking, for example, it’s highly recommended you either wear pants and long sleeves, or at least tall socks. This will deter both fleas and ticks from jumping on you.
When you get home, be sure to check your body all over (including your back, armpits, inner ears, scalp, and buttocks) to ensure you don’t have any visible hangers on. Ticks being larger, are always easier to spot, but you’ll know if you’ve brought some fleas in if you start itching and have a series of small red spots in the itchy area.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to lay down an anti-flea and tick barrier around your doors and window sills. This will help prevent them from getting into your house.
Ticks can be extremely hazardous to humans and pets, carrying a variety of diseases, least of which is Lyme disease. Once brought into the home, they can reproduce fairly fast if they can lay eggs, most often near baseboards, window sills, door frames, or even in furniture, rugs, and curtains. That said, tick infestations aren’t very common indoors, as they tend to like shady and humid environments.
Ticks will often bury their heads into the skin of their victims. If you find a tick on yourself or your pet, it’s essential to remove it instantly with tweezers. Do not use alcohol or try to burn the tick out, as it may leave its head embedded in the skin when it dies, which can lead to an infection. If you do find a tick, it’s a good idea to submit it to the University of Maryland for identification as well as to call your doctor.
Should you find a single tick on you, it’s not likely you have an infestation. But stay vigilant in case you’ve brought more in!
Fleas are by far much harder to get rid of than ticks (though ticks can be scarier and slightly more dangerous). If you’re unlucky enough to have a flea infestation, it can take a lot of work to get rid of them because they’re very small and they reproduce very quickly.
If you have a flea infestation, you might consider getting an over-the-counter flea bomb. This will fill your room with very strong pesticide, so it’s essential that all pets and family members leave the house when using them. After the bomb has done its job, it’s a good idea to use a steam cleaner to clean any carpets, furniture, or drapes in the room, as well as wiping down any surfaces—especially those that might come into contact with food.
Call in the Pros
Of course, if you find signs of either a flea or tick infestation, it might be best to give us a call. We can provide a free assessment and some options to help you reclaim your home from these nasty and dangerous critters.