8 Facts About Fleas and Ticks — Vet In Toney, Countryside Veterinary Hospital

8 Facts About Fleas and Ticks

#1: Fleas and ticks go to amazing lengths to find a host.

Fleas have six powerful legs that allow them to jump distances 200 times their body length—over 12 inches—onto a host. Their jumping power is the equivalent of a human leaping 1,200 feet.

Instead of jumping, a tick waits on the end of a leaf or blade of grass with its front legs outstretched and grabs onto an unsuspecting animal or person walking by.

Both arthropods have sensitive sensory perception, which allows them to detect changes in heat, moisture, light, vibrations, and carbon dioxide levels that indicate a possible host is present.

#2: Both fleas and ticks make a meal of your pet’s blood.

Fleas and ticks take up residence on your pet to secure their next meal: blood. Fleas live their adult lives on an animal and feed frequently on small amounts of blood.

Ticks, on the other hand, attach to an animal for a few hours to a few days and feed continuously. When it has finished feeding, the tick detaches, falls off the animal, and lives in the environment.

Although each flea or tick ingests only a small amount of blood, severe infestation can cause anemia. Small kittens or puppies can lose enough blood to cause death.

#3: Pets often have no clue they are harboring stow-away pests.

When a tick finds the perfect place to feed, it incises the animal’s skin, inserts its feeding tube, and bites. Because the tick secretes a small amount of saliva that contains anesthetic-like properties as it bites. the host does not feel pain or itch, allowing ticks to feed undetected for up to several days.

#4: Fleas and ticks can transmit dangerous diseases.

Fleas and ticks can pick up diseases with the blood they ingest. When they feed on other hosts, they leave behind a small amount of saliva containing the bacterial or viral pathogens and transmit the disease.

Diseases transmitted by fleas include:

  • Tapeworms
  • Cat scratch disease
  • Murine typhus
  • Mycoplasma haemofelis

Diseases transmitted by ticks include:

  • Lyme disease
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Powassan virus
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Anaplasmosis

#5: Fleas and ticks have complex life cycles.

Adult fleas lay eggs, which hatch into worm-like larvae that feed on organic matter and digested blood the adults leave behind. Larvae pupate and transform into adult fleas inside a cocoon. Their life cycle can span from a few weeks to several months, depending on environmental conditions. Newly emerged adult fleas must feed before they can lay eggs.

Ticks also lay eggs, which hatch into tiny larvae that develop into nymphs and then adults. The larva and nymph stages are smaller versions of the adult tick. Ticks must find a host and feed at least once at each stage to survive. Their life cycle can take up to three years to complete.

#6: A few adult fleas can multiply to an infestation in no time.

The adult fleas crawling on your pet represent only 5 percent of the total population, with eggs (50 percent), larvae (35 percent), and pupae (10 percent) making up the other 95 percent. This means that for each adult flea you can see, 19 others are lurking in your home’s carpet, bedding, and furniture.

A female flea can lay up to 50 eggs each day, so your flea population can grow quickly. Treating a flea infestation involves eliminating the pests in your environment at every life stage, and killing the adult fleas on your pet.

#7: Pets can be allergic to flea bites.

Most animals develop an itchy bump from the saliva that fleas leave behind after each bite. Some dogs and cats experience a more severe reaction, called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), where a single flea bite causes an intensely itchy rash that requires veterinary treatment. If your pet has FAD, strict flea control is critical.

#8: The threat doesn’t die in the winter.

Although fleas cannot survive below-freezing temperatures, a few may overwinter on hosts and in sheltered areas, such as wild animal dens and under buildings. Reproduction slows down considerably, but gains speed again in spring and summer.

The tick life cycle takes 2 to 3 years. Many species require a winter to develop from larva to nymph stage, and they will survive the freezing temperatures in insulated areas like leaf litter. When temperatures rise, ticks become active again and search for their next host.

Year-round prevention is critical to keep fleas and ticks at bay. Speak to our veterinary team about products that best fit your pet’s needs.


Deer Tick FAQ

Can you get Lyme disease from a larval tick?

No. If an adult female deer tick is a carrier of Lyme disease, it is unable to pass it to the eggs she lays. Ticks can only contract Lyme disease if they take a blood meal from an infected host. Since larva have not taken their first blood meal yet, they are unable to have or transmit Lyme disease.

Can deer ticks get Lyme disease from deer?

No. White-tailed deer have not been shown to circulate the Lyme bacteria in their blood. Research suggests there are borreliacidal properties in deer blood that are capable of killing the bacteria that cause Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi). If a tick is infected with Lyme disease, it is because it contracted it from another animal that was infected.

What does it mean when a deer tick is engorged?

As deer ticks feed, their bodies fill with blood and get bigger. This increase in size is referred to as engorgement and can be measured to determine how long the deer tick was feeding for.

Do adult male deer ticks feed?

Once a nymph deer tick molts into an adult male, it will look for an engorged adult female to mate with. Males will sometimes feed for short periods of time for extra energy, but often won’t feed at all because once they mate with an adult female they die. Adult female deer ticks need to feed to become fully engorged with blood so they have energy to carry and lay eggs before dying.

Why is the deer tick also called a blacklegged tick?

Deer ticks are the only tick species with black legs. In the past, it was assumed blacklegged ticks contracted Lyme disease from deer. However, this is a common misconception since deer do not carry Lyme disease. Scientists have moved towards referring to deer ticks as blacklegged ticks to avoid continuing this misconception.

What is the relationship between deer and the deer tick?


An important component of tick survival is having a host to feed on. Deer are large mammals that can provide a meal for thousands of blacklegged ticks. When ticks feed on deer, it is unlikely the deer will try to remove the tick. This creates the perfect environment for blacklegged ticks to mate, lay eggs, and complete the last stage of the life cycle as an adult. Deer contribute to increasing the tick populations but do not spread Lyme disease.

Why are nymph deer ticks most dangerous?

A nymph deer tick has already taken one blood meal in its life and has potentially contracted a disease. Because nymph ticks are so small, they go unnoticed allowing them to feed for extended periods of time. The longer a deer tick is attached, the more likely they will transmit any diseases they are carrying. While adult deer ticks have fed twice in their life and have a greater chance of carrying a disease, they are larger and are normally found sooner in their attachment, reducing the risk of transmission.

What is the difference between the Western blacklegged tick and the deer tick?

Ixodes pacificus or the Western blacklegged tick is very similar to the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) but can only be found on the western coast of the U.S. in California, Oregon, and Washington. Both ticks have similar characteristics such as red bodies, black shields, no festoons on the abdomen, and long, thin mouthparts. Due to their differing locations, these ticks have evolved differently over time creating changes between them that can only be seen when looking at their genes.

How long do deer ticks live?
After hatching from their egg, a deer tick will live for about two years and take 2-3 blood meals before mating and dying.

How can you tell how long a deer tick was feeding for?

As nymph and adult female deer ticks feed, their bodies become larger and their shields remain the same size. A scutal index can be used to measure engorgement size, estimating the hours of attachment. When looking at a deer tick under the microscope we can take measurements of the width of the shield and the length of the body. We then divide the length of the body by the width of the shield and compare that number to a chart which gives us the approximate hours the deer tick was attached for.

What states do deer ticks live in?

Deer ticks have been identified in all U.S. states except Hawaii. They are most commonly found along the eastern coast of the United States from Florida to Maine and as far west as Texas. They are also located in the Great Lakes region of the upper Midwest United States.

Where are deer ticks found?

Deer ticks can be found under leaf-litter, at the edges of wooded areas, in areas of high grass or thick vegetation, and areas where wildlife are frequent. They require humid and shaded locations to protect them from drying out and dying.

What animals carry deer ticks?

Deer ticks will feed on more than 300 different animals. They are most commonly found feeding on shrews, chipmunks, mice, reptiles, birds, domestic animals (dogs), white-tailed deer, moose, and cattle. Of these animals, only mice, chipmunks, birds and shrews can carry and transmit Lyme disease to a feeding tick.

Where do deer ticks get Lyme disease from?

Infected adult female deer ticks cannot pass Lyme disease to their eggs. This means, when the eggs hatch, the larvae do not have Lyme disease. When a tick takes its first blood meal, it is at risk for contracting Lyme disease if the animal it feeds from is infected. If the animal is not infected, the tick will remain uninfected by Lyme. Every blood meal the tick takes puts it at risk for contracting Lyme from an infected host. The deer tick will take 2-3 blood meals in its life, giving it 2-3 opportunities to become infected. If the tick becomes infected during the 1st or 2nd feeding, it can transmit diseases to any animal it feeds on after.

How many eggs do deer ticks lay?

One adult female deer tick can lay as many as 3,000 eggs.

Where do deer ticks lay eggs?

Deer ticks will look for a protected and moist area to lay their eggs to prevent them from drying out such as under leaf litter, in shaded areas, under tall grass and vegetation, or under fallen trees.

How many deer ticks are found to have Lyme disease?

Current research conducted by the Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory has identified, out of 2,588 deer ticks tested, 30% are positive for Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Adults typically have a higher rate of infection than nymphs and northeastern states such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut have a higher rate of Lyme positive deer ticks than other areas of the U.S.

Can deer ticks carry more than one disease at a time?

Yes. Deer ticks can be co-infected with many diseases at one time. Current research conducted by the Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory has identified 49% of ticks carry more than one infection.

Tickipedia is hosted by TickCheck, a tick testing laboratory dedicated to early detection of tick borne diseases.


Tick Eggs – First Stage of the Life Cycle

An adult tick has a life purpose of increasing the species through reproduction. These adult ticks need blood as their energy food source in order to mate and lay eggs for females to start the reproduction process. Summer is the prime season for ticks to feed on hosts. Adult ticks will attach on large hosts to feed and breed. The female tick feeds to gain strength for laying several thousands of eggs. While on the host, the male tick fertilizes the eggs. The female then drops to the ground to lay eggs and these must stay moist all the time.

Tick eggs are the start of the tick life cycle; from eggs, larvae, nymphs and adult. These eggs are usually reddish brown in color and are very small. Female ticks lay as many as 2,000 eggs to 18,000 eggs. Unfortunately, female ticks die after laying eggs, except for soft ticks. Soft ticks consume several small blood meals and lay eggs several times. When temperature and moisture are at suitable levels, the eggs hatch and the tick life cycle starts all over again. Hard ticks usually lay eggs in the protected areas on the ground during spring time. Brown dog ticks however lay eggs indoors.

How to get rid of tick eggs

Ticks can transmit diseases and so it is crucial to eliminate the ticks and eggs to avoid the problems they bring. Tick eggs can be eliminated by putting salt all over the areas where ticks breed, like on carpets or sofa cushions. This will dry out the eggs. For climate with high humidity, it is suggested that the salt for two days; for dry climate, leave the salt for a week. After the suggested duration, vacuum the areas and empty the vacuum outside the house. Salt may also be rubbed on pets to naturally eliminate ticks.

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Tutorials/Egg farming

Egg farming is the process of collecting a large number of chicken eggs from chickens. From an automated source of eggs, a chicken farm which produces additional end products like raw/cooked chicken and feather can be constructed with the addition of egg-dispensing and chicken-killing systems.

The chicken is the most farmable animal in Minecraft. Unlike cows and sheep, it does not require any food to grow up or to produce eggs. No matter where the chicken is kept, everything just happens automatically. In addition, cooked chicken is almost as good as other cooked meats for restoring hunger.


Catching or Hatching a chicken [ edit ]

In general, you’ll want to first build a pen to hold them. Single-height wooden fences (or a small cave) will suffice, but either way it’s best to add an «entry lock»: a fenced space with gates leading both to the pen and to outside. This will help prevent escapees — if one of the gates is always closed, the chickens’ pathfinding will never see an escape route to the outside.

The usual way to capture chickens is to hold seeds of any kind, which will make any chickens nearby follow you across the landscape and right into the pen. Alternatively, if you already have slimeballs and string, you can use leads to drag them along; this will mostly keep them from wandering away, but you will need a separate lead for each chicken. With care, chickens can even be led across water, as they will follow your boat.

Another option is to collect eggs and throw the eggs into your closed pen. There is only a 1 in 8 chance of spawning a chicken when you throw an Egg, so you should try to collect at least one stack. They will take some time to grow to adulthood but once you have at least one adult chicken it will start producing eggs and with two or more adults you can breed them with seeds or nether wart.

When hatching large numbers of chickens, a good rule of thumb is that including growth time, the chickens will need over a real-time hour to replace the eggs used to hatch them. Nights skipped in a bed do not count toward this time, and the chunk(s) containing the chicken must remain loaded (that is, near a player or in the spawn chunks). This also assumes you are collecting all the eggs — remember, loose items like eggs despawn after 5 minutes.

Setting up the farm [ edit ]

You can farm chicken eggs the traditional way, where you have to run around and collect chicken eggs all the time.

Alternatively, you can follow one of the tutorials below, to create a farm that channels eggs to a single point. Most such will do the same for chicken meat, feathers, and even experience orbs as well.

3x3x4 Automatic Farm [ edit ]

This is a minimal egg farm consisting of 8 blocks, a hopper and chest: it’s incredibly efficient in versions prior to 1.11, when it could house hundreds of chickens in an 1×1 area. Since version Java Edition 1.11’s introduction of the maxEntityCramming gamerule, the number has reduced to 24. Check your servers settings on cramming before settling on this farm solution.

The opening at the top can either be used as a one-way entrance or simply sealed. Bait a chicken in or throw some eggs at the interior walls to start the system.

Building up [ edit ]

This system may be extended with a larger living area with all hoppers eventually pointing to one that goes to a chest. At a certain point, the system becomes prone to mob spawns, and slabs can be laid over hoppers to deter mobs spawning. (Hoppers can fetch dropped eggs through a slab.) As using many hoppers becomes too expensive, water flow is used instead of the initial collection in the following version.

11x11x6 Automatic farm [ edit ]

The hopper egg farm is a relatively simple contraption: On the main floor, chickens are contained by water while they grow and lay eggs, which also wash the eggs into a hopper; from there the eggs go back into the system’s supply chest. This chest feeds an automatic hatcher, which can refill the main floor after a harvest. The hatcher is controlled through a despawn timer, which prevents the system from spawning chickens ad infinitum (or at least until the server crashes).

This farm will be surrounded on the surface by an 11×11 fence or wall, with doors or gates at or near the middle of a side. There is a pillar and (at least a) partial roof in the center, and an «egg room» dug 3 blocks deep beneath that. The egg room and its pillar can be adapted to other farm layouts. You will also want a tunnel leading to the egg room, with space to get at the chest and other devices to retrieve meat and feathers), and the switches to trigger or disable the hatcher. The chickens are contained primarily by water, so the farm partly resists any problems with chickens walking through walls and fences. The schematics are below. The gold and stone-brick blocks represent «any full block», but the blocks shown as gold must also be opaque, while stone-brick blocks can be opaque, transparent, or in some cases air.

Automatic 11×11 Egg farm Plans

Materials [ edit ]

  • The base machinery includes three droppers, a dispenser, three hoppers, a chest, a couple of switches, two redstone repeaters, two redstone torches, and six redstone dust. Making that equipment from scratch will cost a minimum of 6 smooth stone, 15 iron, 29 cobblestone, 10 «logs» of wood (with some bits left over), 18 redstone dust, and 3 string. Also needed are 7 solid opaque blocks, and several that can be opaque or transparent. The chest can optionally be doubled (another 2 wood), and you may well want another chest elsewhere in the egg room, for ordinary storage.
  • The 9×9 floor inside the room will need 78 additional blocks or slabs (if the optional second chest is used, then at least the space above it needs to be a slab). You may want a trapdoor from the chicken floor to the egg room; the water not only won’t flow through the trapdoor, but will generally prevent chickens from slipping down there too.
  • The pillar will be a slab and another two blocks, one of which should be a jack-o-lantern or other light source. Even a block with four torches will do, but you do need a light there to keep the chicks from drowning themselves at the edges.
  • The roof will need at least 10 solid blocks to intercept eggs (3×3 over the dispenser, and one topping the pillar). The rest of the ceiling can be filled in with slabs.
  • The walls should be solid blocks, at least 2 high (the ceiling layer will usually be a third) This will cost most of 80 blocks of stone and/or glass (or 20 wood «logs» converted to planks). Doors can be best placed in the middle of any wall, or all four of them. Given creepers, it’s much safer to make at least the floor and the bottom row of the wall out of blast resistant blocks: Any stone will do, as will brick or hardened clay, or even obsidian. This will minimize the mess if it does get blasted, and make it much easier to fix up. Making the top row out of glass blocks lets you see in and out of the farm, which helps avoid creeper blasts in the first place. You can also surround it with other protections such as a moat, which would prevent creepers from damaging the blocks even if they do explode.
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Building it [ edit ]

Once the walls are set up, it is easiest to build the egg room from above. Make sure to offset the room so the input hopper is in the center of the floor, and light the egg room properly. When orienting the room, think about where you want the access tunnel to go. As shown, an access corridor leading to the lower left of the diagram allows getting at all the containers and both switches.

The hatcher consists of two droppers facing up, with a dispenser facing up on top of them. These are fed by the hoppers, with the chest providing extra storage, and driven by a 3-clock. The clock is on the right edge of the diagram, from the block with the lever southwards and downwards. That lever lets you disable the hatcher completely—place it and turn it on as soon as the clock is built, so you can build the rest without clicking noises.

The despawn timer (upper edge of diagram) is a dropper facing down over pressure plate. It works by dropping an item onto the pressure plate, which will turn off the torch and enable the clock until the item despawns. The block in front of the pressure plate helps avoid accidentally picking up the item as you pass near, but if you go close enough you can still pick it up and cut off the timer. Once you’ve built and connected the despawn timer, you can turn the lever back off, as the inactive timer will keep the clock disabled. The despawn timer’s dropper can be loaded with any disposable item, such as surplus seeds or eggs. The block in front of the pressure plate is just to make it a little harder to accidentally pick up the item—glass will let you see if the item is on target, or has missed the pressure plate.

Once the egg room is built and closed over, continue with the central pillar: Above the hopper, place a top slab, then two blocks above that. You can make the lower one a jack-o-lantern, for simple lighting. From the top block of the pillar, extend a roof out over the dispenser and at least one square around it in every direction. Put a torch on the roof to avoid unfortunate monster spawns. Note that if you use slabs, you may get chicks on top of the roof. If you have the minimum roof, they’ll just fall into the water, but if you want to extend the roof to the edges, use non-transparent blocks to avoid escapees.

Note that the dispenser is purposely separated from the collection hopper/central pillar, to allow for the dispenser’s variable aim. The slab (or other transparent block) between them is only needed if you add the optional chest, but if you do, an opaque block there will prevent the chest from being opened. Note that as of version 1.14, you can place the optional chest without connecting it to the main chest. It will still feed into the egger, but may be useful for stashing extra eggs, especially when you are about to harvest and want space in the main chest for feathers and meat.

Last of all, place buckets of water in each corner; they will flow to the central pillar. Load up your chest with eggs and set it running (or lead in some chickens). Then let the eggs accumulate until you have enough for a full run (at least a dozen stacks in the chest). For a longer run, you may wish to disable the despawn timer (by adding a lever to the block for its output torch), or just do a second run immediately when the first finishes.

Running the farm [ edit ]

The clock is normally disabled by either the inactive timer, or by the lever, either of which will disable the clock. With the clock disabled, the incoming eggs will fill first the bottom dropper, then the bottom hoppers, then the chest, and finally the intake hopper. This gives a total of 52 stacks storage, or 79 with the optional second chest.

Now, 79 stacks of eggs would produce an average of 163 chickens, which may be enough to seriously lag the game when you are nearby. Worse, they will take over 15 minutes to feed through because the hoppers are slower than the clock. If you leave the hatcher running much longer than that, the first chickens will grow up and start laying eggs! At that point, you’ll be facing exponential growth, limited only by the speed of the hoppers. If the hatcher is left running after the first generation grows up, the system will be producing 2.6 chickens a minute at first, but if the game doesn’t crash, it will eventually peak at 18 per minute, 363 per game day. In such numbers, the chickens will overflow any enclosure, and huge numbers will cause the game to lag badly. However, if you don’t mind risking «Chickmageddon», you can skip the despawn timer forming the top two rows of the egg room. In more recent versions of Minecraft, the crowding will eventually cause chickens to start suffocating, but for this design that may not be enough to prevent problems.

This despawn timer and inverter will enable the clock for 5 minutes only, letting you hatch 500 eggs at a time (about 31 stacks, producing an average of 64 chickens). There is a bit of a trick here: Since the clock has a period of 0.6 seconds, 300 seconds gets you 500 cycles, but the clock and dispenser are faster than the hoppers feeding the dispenser. The hoppers alone could deliver less than 375 eggs to the dispenser, but the eggs in the bottom dropper give just enough of a head start to cover a batch of 500. As noted above, the chickens will need a bit over a real-time hour to replenish the eggs used; if you don’t want to wait for that, you can harvest the chickens as soon as they’re mature, then run the egger again and let the second batch refill the chests while you do other things.


  • one800fish says:

    The female flea only lives about three weeks but in that time she can lay as many as 1200 eggs. These eggs don’t stick to or on the pet. They fall off every where the pet roams. They hatch into larvae and build a cocoon around themselves until they develop into adults . They only come out when they detect a source for a blood meal ( vibration / carbon dioxide ) and can stay in the cocoon for up to a year without a meal. They must have a blood meal to lay eggs so some treatment to prevent that such as «Advantage» is absolutely necessary. Although they will bite humans they cannot reproduce on human blood. Vacuuming often and thoroughly will bring them out of the cocoon and the vacuum bag should be placed in a plastic trash bag ,sealed and put out side in the trash. Burn it if possible. Remember, it takes as long to get rid of an infestation as it did to get it.

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