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Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body. Cat fleas are the most common domestic flea, but dog fleas, human fleas and oriental rat fleas can also be found. Fleas do not fly. Instead, they use their powerful legs to jump onto a passing host. 

Flea bites can result in painful, itchy red bumps. Fleas are also the most common transmitter of the rare bubonic plague. 

Fleas are the most prevalent parasite found on fur-bearing animals, such as dogs and cats. There are an estimated 2,000 species of fleas worldwide, and more than 300 types are found in the United States. 

 

WHAT DOES A FLEA LOOK LIKE?

Fleas are small, wingless, flat insects with three pairs of legs. Adult fleas are about 1/8 of an inch long (1 to 3 mm). They are dark reddish-brown in color and have biting mouthparts. They can be very hard to spot because they move so fast along the animal's body. Flea-combs and wetting an animal's hair can help you grasp them for a visual inspection. 

WHAT DO FLEAS EAT?

Fleas feed on any warm-blooded body, including humans. However, they prefer to dine on hairy animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, mice, opossums, raccoons and skunks.

WHERE DO FLEAS LIVE?

Once a flea hatches and becomes an adult, it uses its powerful legs to jump onto a host, where it likely remains at all times. While attached, the flea will feed, mate and lay eggs. The eggs often fall off of the host into the yard, bedding, carpeting or blankets.

ARE FLEAS DANGEROUS?

Fleas not only cause discomfort from biting, but they are also vectors of the bubonic plague. While there are few cases reported today, this rare disease wiped out one-third of Europe in the 14th century. Additionally, they can spread the bacterial disease murine typhus, which is transmitted to humans through infected rats. In pets, fleas serve as an intermediate host for tapeworm. The saliva of these biting pests is known to cause serious flea allergy dermatitis in dogs and cats.

HOW CAN I PREVENT FLEA INFESTATION?

There are a few tips that people should follow to prevent fleas from becoming an itchy nuisance.

Around the House

  • Maintain a clean home. Practicing good sanitation is key to avoiding an infestation.
  • Vacuum carpets, floors and furniture frequently, and wash bed linens regularly, to remove any existing fleas and help prevent the laying of eggs.
  • Since fleas can transport themselves on rodents, it's important to eliminate any rodent harboring points by keeping the lawn properly landscaped. This includes mowing the lawn on a regular basis, properly securing entry points and windows, and removing all moisture sites around the property.

Pet Care

  • Check pets' coats thoroughly for fleas, especially after spending time outdoors. Be aware of excessive scratching and licking.
  • Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
  • Wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys frequently.
  • Speak to a veterinarian about flea prevention treatments.

Fleas have the ability to reproduce quickly, which makes flea infestations very difficult to control. In fact, fleas can produce as many as 400 to 500 offspring in their lifetime. A veterinarian can recommend the best methods and products for treating fleas on your pet.

It's important to contact a licensed pest control professional if you discover fleas in your home! Contact Westfall's Pest Control at (941) 761-0125 for a FREE pest inspection and a Bug Free Guarantee!

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Fleas 101

Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body. The most common species is the cat flea, which often feasts on cats, dogs and humans.

Habits
Fleas can live for about 100 days during which time the females produce 400-500 offspring. Fleas transport themselves on rodents and other mammals, and usually remain on their hosts at all times. These pests use their powerful legs to jump as high as 8" vertically, which is 150 times their own height. If humans could do this, we would be able to leap over skyscrapers.

Habitat
Fleas infest both household pets and wild animals like opossums, raccoons and skunks. They can also be found on shoes, pant legs or blankets, which can transfer the fleas to new environments.

Threats
Fleas are the most common transmitter of the rare bubonic plague. They also transmit the bacterial disease murine typhus to humans through infected rats. Their saliva can cause serious flea allergy dermatitis in pets and their debris has been reported to cause similar allergic reactions in humans. Fleas can also transfer tapeworms and cause anemia in pets, which is why active flea management is an important component of pet care. Flea bites commonly cause painful, itchy red bumps.

Flea Prevention
Looking to get rid of fleas in the home? Homeowners should clean and vacuum frequently to help remove flea populations and prevent the laying of eggs. It's also necessary to keep the lawn groomed to avoid rodent habitation. Pet owners should practice active flea management by keeping dogs on a leash when outside, bathing and grooming pets regularly, visiting a veterinarian annually, and using flea treatments according to direction. If you suspect a flea infestation, it is important to hire a flea control professional to rid your home of rodents and fleas.

Source: pestworld.org

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When the family goes outside to play, it isn't just the kids bringing unwanted pests back inside. Animal fur is ideal for pet pests such as fleas and ticks to grab onto as Fido explores the backyard.

Fleas and ticks have unique adaptations that make them well suited to finding and feeding on mammals to survive. Keep reading to find out facts you may never have known about these tiny pests.

All about ticks

  • Must love dogs - Some tick species have preferred hosts. The American dog tick prefers to feed on domestic dogs and therefore is one of the most common tick species brought into homes.
  • All you can eat buffet - Ticks are much easier to spot after a meal. Some species will grow almost four times in size when engorged with blood.
  • High four - To find a host, ticks clasp onto shrubs or grass with their back legs and reach their front legs out to grasp onto passing fur or clothing.
  • Moving up in the world - Wherever they attach, ticks will crawl toward the head of their host. The skin around the neck and ears is thinner and these areas are also hardest for animals to groom.


All about fleas

  • Good vertical - Fleas can jump up to eight feet, which is 150 times their own height.
  • Here to stay - Unlike other pests, fleas typically remain on their host at all times. However, they are easily transferable to furniture or between animals.
  • Black sheep of the family - There are more than 2,000 known species and subspecies of fleas, but one species - the cat flea - accounts for the majority of infestations in the United States.
  • Don't blame the dog - Fleas infest many animals like rodents and raccoons as well. If you suspect a rodent infestation, fleas may soon follow.
  • Pet pests pose unique threats to both people and pets as they are easily transferable, difficult to spot and carriers of multiple diseases. While fleas are primarily an itchy annoyance, they can cause flea allergy dermatitis, transfer tapeworms and in rare cases, transmit bubonic plague if they've fed on an infected rodent. Ticks are not as noticeable as fleas but they are known to carry very serious diseases such as Lyme disease and cause "tick paralysis" in animals.

Homeowners should thoroughly check pets' fur for fleas and ticks after they've been out in the yard or at the park as these pests can certainly infest homes. One of the easiest ways to do a pest check is by brushing the animal's fur and using your hand to smooth fur along the body. Also, be on the lookout for skin irritations on your pet and excessive scratching, both of which are good indicators of fleas or ticks. If you suspect you have an infestation in the home, consult a pest professional to recommend the best treatment option.

Source: pestworld.org

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One needs to be very alert and careful about keeping their house clean and free of any pests especially if there is a dog or cat in the house. Pets are very prone to infestation by ticks and fleas despite regular baths and make sure you consult your vet about over-the-counter medicines to get rid of them. If you have a dog, bathe it at least once a week and always use an anti-fleas and ticks shampoo.

I have had many patients who have come to the Out Patient Department (OPD) complaining of a feeling of uneasiness and pain in their ears. On further examination, I found that it was because these ticks entered their ear. Recently, I had a patient who complained of intense pain in his ear following which I removed three ticks from the left ear. They were lodged deep inside his ear and were sucking on his blood. Luckily, the ear drum wasn’t damaged since he came to the clinic in time.

Such cases are quite common. Ticks can also cause Lyme disease and a tick bite can lead to rashes, itching, bumps and redness as they tend to latch on to human beings as well. If you notice any tick bite on your body, avoid scratching it as it can cause infection. Instead, clean it with warm water and an antiseptic.

Other than ticks and fleas, Dr Valand says he has also removed cockroaches, ants, and other insects from his patients’ ears. It is important to keep your house clean and regularly not only clean your pet’s bedding but also your kitchen and bathrooms where these insects usually tend to breed. 

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Fleas are now mutating, making them resistant to the popular flea control products pet owners have come to rely on in the flea season. The experts are stating what pet owners have known for a while now, and the validation, while concerning, is a step in the right direction.

Vets like Katherine Van Ekert with Vet Pronto in San Francisco's Bay Area are telling their clients solutions, like Advantage and Frontline, that worked in the past are no longer offering benefits to your pets. Van Ekert is advising clients not to waste their money on them, according to San Francisco's local CBS, who says the fleas have mutated in a manner of survival of the fittest.

"You can imagine when we're applying a flea product that's designed to kill a flea and those fleas have random mutations, the genes that are resulting and are allowing the fleas to survive are going to win," said Dr. Van Ekert.

"This past summer has been dragging on months and months, so flea populations, they have been really small to start off with and they're growing," Dr. Van Ekert said, noting the warm weather is not helping curb flea populations, according to News 9 in Oklahoma City. "Normally, they go into dormancy in the winter, so they will hibernate for a while. But it just hasn't been cold enough for that yet."

As a solution to the problem, vets are now recommending oral medication for flea control, one that seems to help is Nextguard by Frontline.

"They really don't need anythin, but a dog or a cat to feed on and as long as that's available they will keep laying eggs. So you have to treat the house, the yard and the pet for the best flea control," said Dr. Denise Genix according to WTSP.

Dr. Genix, of South Tampa Veterinary Clinic explains there isn't one solution to fight fleas, you have to hit all of the flea cycles, and reiterates that oral flea medications are more effective than topical medications for your pets.

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When I go to pay my bill there is a purchase form there no place
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Westfall's posted a blog post
Termite swarming season will be ramping up soon as the weather starts to get warmer and the spring season approaches — with many termite species being particularly prevalent in the Southeast. In case you’ve never heard, termites are nicknamed “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and wallpaper without any immediate signs of damage. In fact, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year— costs that are typically note covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. That is why it’s extremely important to know what types of termite species are active in your area and to understand ways to prevent them from causing damage to your home.
Here are five types of termite species to be aware of at the turn of the season if you reside in the southeastern United States:


Subterranean Termites


This termite species is extremely common in southern states and hotter climates. Subterranean termites live in underground colonies with as many as two…
Jun 11
Hi, I called for a fire ant quote. You said it would be $45. We would like to have it treated now. 941 341-1343. 4829 W Country Club Way, Sarasota.
When I signed I had signed for the Turf Platinum Program at $45,00 per application. I would to change to the Turf Gold Program at $53.00 per application. We did not know they were coming today and Thursday is our day to water
we watered right before they came will it still work.
my lawn, all 12000 sq ft is infested with bermuda grass that has crowded out the st. augustine..as you know we discussed this..i was told today by a golf course super that the lawn is far gone. he has no dog in this deal. he suggested killing the lawn, and putting new st augustine grass down. please contact me, i called today and spoke to your wife and hope you got the message..no amount of fertilizer will bring this lawn back. gary shapiro
Westfall's posted a blog post
It has been reported that in the 20 most mosquito-infested cities across the nation Texas, Florida and Georgia took the top spots.

Data was examined from top pest control companies across the country between April 1, 2016 and April 1, 2017 to determine the areas where customers are most pestered by mosquitoes. Texas earned the "honor" of the top three spots on the list, followed closely by Florida and Tennessee.


The full list of the top 20 cities is:
1. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
2. Houston, Texas
3. San Antonio, Texas
4. Atlanta, Ga.
5. Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
6. Memphis, Tenn.
7. Nashville, Tenn.
8. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
9. Mobile, Ala.
10. Jacksonville, Fla.
11. Cincinnati, Ohio
12. Washington, D.C.
13. Tampa, Fla.
14. Louisville, Ky.
15. Baton Rouge, La.
16. Little Rock, Ark.
17. Tulsa, Okla.
18. Birmingham, Ala.
19. Oklahoma City, Okla.
20. Indianapolis, Ind.
We provide effective mosquito reduction in Southwest Florida to keep mosquitoes at a minimum on your property allo…
Jun 12, 2017
Westfall's posted a blog post
Now that spring has finally arrived, and the weather conditions are beginning to improve along the east coast, many homeowners will be spending the next couple of weekends tackling their spring cleaning to-do lists. If you are one of these people, make sure that you address the pest hot spots around your home in between wiping down the windows and shampooing the rugs. 
Here’s a handy room-by-room guide of specific things to do to keep pests at bay this spring.
Kitchen

Ants, among other common pests, are known to infest kitchen spaces because this room provides easy access to food and water sources. They often march one-by-one through the heart of the home while searching for crumbs left behind from dinner, sticky residue from liquid spills and overripe fruit sitting out on the countertop. Although you may make a concerted effort to keep the kitchen clean on a daily basis, there are still a few other projects you can do to make it less attractive to pests.
First, remove all of the ite…
Mar 11, 2017
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Pest infestations are the worst. Aside from property damage, some creepy crawlies can cause physical harm or transmit diseases. Read the list below to learn more about the pests we consider the worst of the worst – the ones we love to hate!


Bed Bugs




The thought of bed bugs feeding on humans while they are sound asleep at night is enough to make anyone quiver with fear. Over the last decade, bed bug populations have continued to rise, and today, one out of five Americans has experienced a bed bug infestation or knows someone who has encountered these despised pests. Unfortunately, bed bugs are extremely elusive creatures, and they can hide just about anywhere. This makes treating an infestation with do-it-yourself measures nearly impossible. Vigilance is key to avoiding a bed bug problem.





Cockroaches




From their creepy appearance to the odd survival tactics they exhibit, cockroaches are certainly abhorred by homeowners. Not only do these pests possess an ick-factor, but t…
Mar 4, 2017
Jonell Dreznin posted a blog post
Green pest control applications are becoming increasingly popular, particularly for buildings that provide services to the young or those with compromised immune systems. However, some professionals question whether these methods are effective or if they are simply a waste of time and money.The short answer is yes, this form of pest control can provide the desired results. However, it is important to understand what is involved with the process, as well as the benefits of taking such an approach.Green pest control is not necessarily about eliminating the use of chemicals altogether. Instead, it focuses on getting rid of, and controlling the pest population through preventative measures and the careful application of “safe” pesticides.Integrated Pest ManagementIntegrated Pest Management (IPM) is a large component of any green pest control program. However, it is important to note that this type of management is not inherently green on its own; it can also be used as part of a tradition…
Feb 28, 2017
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The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) explains the mosquito’s overwintering cycle
 FAIRFAX, VA (December 8, 2016) – Concerns over Zika virus in the U.S. were at the forefront of public health conversations this year. But what happens when the temperature drops? Do mosquitoes and the diseases they carry such as Zika virus just simply go away? Well, not exactly, says the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
According to the NPMA, how mosquitoes survive the winter differs by species. “Some mosquitoes may overwinter as adults, hibernating in places like hollow logs or burrows created by other animals. Other species may endure the winter in immature life stages, such as larvae and pupa, remaining in a state of diapause, suspending their development during the coldest months,” said Dr. Michael Bentley, staff entomologist for the NPMA.
Carriers of Zika, including the yellow fever and Asian tiger mosquitoes, overwinter in the egg stage, which means as days get shorter and te…
Feb 27, 2017
Westfall's posted a blog post
Termite swarming season will be ramping up soon as the weather starts to get warmer and the spring season approaches — with many termite species being particularly prevalent in the Southeast. In case you’ve never heard, termites are nicknamed “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and wallpaper without any immediate signs of damage. In fact, termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year— costs that are typically note covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. That is why it’s extremely important to know what types of termite species are active in your area and to understand ways to prevent them from causing damage to your home.
Here are five types of termite species to be aware of at the turn of the season if you reside in the southeastern United States:


Subterranean Termites


This termite species is extremely common in southern states and hotter climates. Subterranean termites live in underground colonies with as many as two…
Feb 26, 2017
Jonell Dreznin posted a blog post
A person infected with Zika virus usually has no symptoms or only has mild ones. However, in recent outbreaks, the virus has been linked to increased rates of neurological disorders and birth defects. There is an urgent need for better animal models for laboratory research to study the Zika virus and potential treatments.Previous studies have shown that young mice with specific immune system defects are susceptible to Zika infection. However, studying Zika in mice with compromised immune systems could skew results. Now, researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research demonstrate that mice with functioning immune systems can be successfully infected with Zika."This new mouse model developed by the FDA could be used to explore Zika virus' pathology and potentially help to develop treatments or vaccines," says Mohanraj Manangeeswaran, senior staff fellow in the FDA's Office of Pharmaceutical Quality. "Because the mice used in this model have…
Feb 21, 2017
Jonell Dreznin posted a blog post
In honor of Valentine's Day, the National Pest Management Association shares the most bizarre mating habits in the insect worldFAIRFAX Va. - The most romantic day of the year is almost here! What passes for love in the wacky world of insects, however, can be downright creepy and even fatal to some species. In honor of Valentine's Day, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) explores the top four weirdest methods insects use to woo a mate."While human romance is typically associated with flowers or chocolate, insects have some much more peculiar ways of expressing their adoration," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "Unfortunately for people, some of these pest mating rituals can even put their own loved ones at risk."Fire ants, termites, kissing bugs and earwigs all make the list of the strangest mating rituals in the insect world.Fire Ants: The fire ant queen can live for up to seven years. Male ants, called drones, aren't so fortunate. Their…
Feb 14, 2017
Jonell Dreznin posted a blog post
Researchers have developed a new mouse model that could be used in Zika research to better understand the virus and find new treatments, according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens.A person infected with Zika virus usually has no symptoms or only has mild ones. However, in recent outbreaks, the virus has been linked to increased rates of neurological disorders and birth defects. There is an urgent need for better animal models for laboratory research to study the Zika virus and potential treatments.Previous studies have shown that young mice with specific immune system defects are susceptible to Zika infection. However, studying Zika in mice with compromised immune systems could skew results. Now, researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research demonstrate that mice with functioning immune systems can be successfully infected with Zika."This new mouse model developed by the FDA could be used to explore Zika virus' pathology and poten…
Jan 17, 2017
Westfall's posted a blog post
Irrigation is a necessary step in getting your grass green. A general rule is 30 minutes for pop up head and mister jets and 45 minutes for rotor heads, two times per week. You should be getting approximately 3/4 inch to 1 inch of water. During the winter months, 3/4 inch to 1 inch of water once every 7 to 10 days is usually adequate. Any rainfall that occurs between watering should be counted towards your plan. If you have questions about your watering or need your irrigation checked for good coverage, please feel free to give us a call.
Nov 13, 2016
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Nov 12, 2016
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HERNANDO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – July 10th was supposed to be just another day of weed service from TruGreen pest control, but boy did it end badly when Weeki Wachee homeowner Rich Kleber later checked his home surveillance video.
“He didn’t have a backpack on, he didn’t have any chemicals in his hands, at no time did a hose come out of that truck, “said Kleber. Kleber wasn’t trying to catch TruGreen worker Dean Schryer doing anything improper, he was just checking whether Schryer sprayed a trouble spot on his lawn.
But Kleber’s high definition video revealed so much more, enough to cost Schryer his job and his company a lot of money.

Rich Kleber’s yard in Weeki Wachee

“The guy walked one lap around my yard and then sat in his air conditioned truck for the remainder of the time that he claimed to be here servicing my lawn,” said Kleber.
Kleber complained to TruGreen managers back at the company’s regional office in Hudson but they were skeptical until he showed them the video. Even then…
Nov 10, 2016
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If you’ve got a lawn and hate to mow, beware the lawn service “ghosts.”
“Ghosting” is an insiders’ term used by lawn care professionals to describe workers who promise to come out and treat a homeowner’s lawn but who don’t actually do any work.
Homeowners who’ve been ghosted will find service flags stuck in their lawn and a receipt in their mailbox, but not much else. Complaints about ghosting and the “splash and dash” -- which is like ghosting, except a little bit of fertilizer or herbicide is thrown around -- abound on online lawn care forums.
Some consumers are catching on. More than 3,500 complaints were filed last year in the Better Business Bureau network against various lawn care services, including gripes about shoddy workmanship, contract issues or problems with billing and collections.
“Either the grass [problem] is not ‘cured’ or the lawn is not any better than before they came … or the contract is never-ending, so they get stuck in that long-term contract,” said Steve Bern…
Nov 9, 2016
Westfall's Lawn & Pest posted a blog post
Here are 10 tips to maintaining a healthy lawn.
1. Aerate your lawn. Aeration is an important part of maintaining a healthy lawn. Aerated soil helps keep the roots moist, which in turn helps your lawn grow.
2. Don’t over-fertilize. If you do, your lawn could become vulnerable to a whole host of new problems. Contact a lawn care specialist to learn more about when you should be fertilizing your lawn.
3. Don’t over-water. Watering your lawn deeply is important to help the roots grow; however, if you water too frequently it could do more harm than good. Consider a Rain Your Way lawn sprinkler system that’ll accurately and efficiently water your lawn every time.
4. Don’t use pesticides. Pesticides are actually quite harmful to not only the environment but also your lawn, as pesticides weaken the health of your lawn.
5. Don’t cut your grass too short. Remember, long grass (but not too long) is healthy grass.
6. Check for problems. Be alert, and be sure to check your lawn often for problems…
Nov 8, 2016
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