It’s February in Knoxville, and the last thing on your mind are fleas and ticks. After all, it’s winter, it’s cold, and these little buggers are nowhere to be found. Or are they? While the colder temperatures and winter wind cut down on flea and tick activity, temperatures must be below freezing for at least five days to kill adult fleas and at least ten days to kill adult ticks. Most flea and ticks go into dormancy and lie in wait until the warm temperatures return. Others latch onto a host during the fall, such as a moose, deer, elk, or your pet. The truth is, fleas and ticks may not be nearly as big of a threat now as they are in the spring and summer, but they can still be active. Knowing how to protect your family, pets, and home is necessary.
What Do Fleas and Ticks Look Like?
First, what do fleas and ticks look like? Fleas are tiny wingless insects about 1/6 inch long and have reddish-brown bodies. There are several different species of ticks in Knoxville, but in general, they are small round insects that can be brown, reddish-brown, yellow, or black. Adult ticks are about the size of a raisin.
Where Do Fleas and Ticks Live?
Here in Knoxville, ticks prefer grass and shrubs with low vegetation. They can also be found in the den or nests of common hosts such as skunks, raccoons, opossums, and rodents. Fleas live in shrubs and trees and moist, shady places. They do not like the sunshine and seek hidden locations under rocks, woodpiles, logs, and leaves. In the winter, both seek shelter through dead leaves, wood, and decaying debris. They can even find shelter under snow, and as the temperatures fall, they naturally burrow deeper to escape the cold. If a flea finds a host before the cold months hit, it will latch on and hold on as long as it can. If this happens to be your beloved pet, the warmth of your home may soon become the perfect flea breeding ground!
Tips For Preventing a Flea and Tick Infestation in the Winter
So, what can you do? Because fleas can live up to a year and produce millions of eggs, you don’t want them hopping off the backs of your dog or cat and multiplying in your house. Both fleas and ticks carry harmful diseases for both you and your pets. There are a few ways you can help prevent these annoying bloodsuckers from terrorizing your home.
- First, stay vigilant. Check your home and pets frequently for ticks and signs of a flea infestation.
- Utilize pet flea and tick control such as Frontline or Advantix. Because of our fast temperature fluctuations, veterinarians in Knoxville recommend using a flea and tick preventive year-round. Your local veterinarian can help you determine which product works best for your furry best friend.
- Be sure you and your pets avoid high-risk areas such as tall grasses and overgrown areas.
- Comb your pet with a flea comb and deposit eggs and fleas into a cup of hot soapy water.
- Bathe your pets regularly.
- Keep leaf litter, grass clippings, and other organic debris away from your home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.
- Fence off the undersides of decks and porches.
- Keep pets out of brush or unmowed areas.
- Fleas and ticks can jump off their hosts and live in your carpets and furniture, where they can continue to multiply. Cleaning and vacuuming your home regularly, including furniture, will ensure that fleas and ticks can’t establish a foothold in your home.
What if You Find a Flea or Tick or Worse, Multiple Fleas and Ticks?
If you find a flea or tick, don’t panic. To get rid of fleas on pets, use a flea shampoo and spot treatment. Again, your local Knoxville veterinarian can help, or you can find these products at any pet or grocery store.
To remove a tick, you will need a pair of rubber or latex gloves and a pair of tweezers. Carefully grab hold of the tick with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Pull straight up, and the tick should come free. Disinfect the bite area with rubbing alcohol, apply a topical treatment and wash your hands with soap and water. Watch your pet for any signs of illness. If your pet looks lethargic or weak, begins vomiting, or appears to be in pain, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Fortunately, regarding the tick, as long as your pet doesn’t fall ill, your work is done. With fleas, it’s a bit of a different story. Removing fleas from your home takes time.
Follow the below steps to completely rid your Knoxville home of fleas.
- Wash all bedding in hot, soapy water. The soap will kill fleas while also destroying their eggs and larvae. Consider vacuuming your mattress as well. Don’t forget to do the same to your pet’s bed.
- Use a powerful vacuum and vacuum your floors paying close attention to all corners and hard-to-reach locations. Sprinkle some salt on your carpet, leave for two days, and vacuum again. Salt acts as a dehydration agent, quickly ridding your carpet of fleas.
- Throw away the vacuum bag!
- Invest in a service that protects your home, family, and pets from fleas and ticks.
Get Protection From Fleas and Ticks With the Mosquito Control Program at Emerald Island Lawn Service
Protect your family and pets and obtain flea and tick control through Emerald Island Lawn Service’s Mosquito Control Program. Our exclusive full-season Mosquito Control Program protects your loved ones from annoying blood-sucking mosquitoes and disease-carrying fleas and ticks. With Emerald Island Lawn Service, there is no reason to buy both. Flea and tick control is included in our Mosquito Control Program. Our exclusive, full-season Mosquito Control Program for the Knoxville area includes six service treatments beginning in April, running through September.
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