Cat Flea

Appearance: Tiny, about 1/6-inch in length; reddish brown and flattened.

Fleas live on the bodies or animals and feed on their blood. Because fleas usually feed and lay their eggs while an animal is sleeping, your pet's resting area is where the most fleas will be found. Areas where a pet jumps down from furnitire or window sills are also "hot spots" for fleas. Many pets acquire fleas outside in the yard. The cat flea will attack both cats and dogs. Its flat shape allows it to pass easily between animal hairs.

Larvae feed on organic debris, particularly the feces of adult fleas, which contain undigested blood. Females need to feed on animal blood in order to produce eggs.

Controlling a flea infestation requires treating your pets, the inside of your home, and flea activity sites outside. To treat pets, consult your veterinarian and follow the instructions of recommended flea control products. To treat inside your home, remove all items from the floors and vacuum, wash and/or mop thoroughly. Wash or replace pet bedding. In homes with active flea infestation, professional treatment is advised. Because flea pupae are not affected by treatment, it may take up to two weeks after treatment before fleas are no longer seen. Regular vacuuming can help to speed this cycle up.


Appearance: Pale brown with whitish stripes across abdomen; narrow oval shape; 1/4- to 3/8-inch. Females are easily recognized by long thin proboscis, or mouthparts, extending from the head.

Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water sources such as storm drains, old tires, children's wading pools and birdbaths. They are one of the best known and most detested summer pests. Female mosquitoes bite humans and suck our blood, leaving behind welts and itching. While the United States is fairly free of most mosquito-borne diseases, encephalitis remains a problem, most notably the potentially fatal West Nile Virus.

Female mosquitoes suck our blood. Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectars.

Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, so avoid going outdoors during those times. Use insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin whenever or wherever mosquitoes are likely to bite. To eliminate or reduce mosquito breeding sites, replace all standing water at least once a week. This includes bird baths, ponds and unfiltered pools. Remove unnecessary vegetation and any trash from around standing water sources that cannot be eliminated. Make sure screens are in place on all doors, windows and other openings.


Appearance: Ticks vary in color by species. Adult ticks are 1/8- to 5/8-inch long if engorged with blood, nymphal (or immature) ticks are less than 1/16-inch. Common pest ticks include the American dog tick, deer tick, and lone star tick.

Often found near wooded and highly vegetated areas. Some tick species require moisture to survive.

All females and males of most species feed on blood of mammals, birds and reptiles. Ticks require a blood meal at each stage of life in order to grow.

Non-chemical tick control procedures should be implemented along with chemical control methods. Keeping grass and weeds cut short in tick infested areas increases tick desiccation during hot weather, discourages alternative hosts and lessens the amount of plant material which may need a pesticide application to kill ticks. Treatments may be necessary in areas of the yard where ticks are found.

Follow these tips when working or walking in areas potentially inhabited by ticks: Wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

  • Use tick repellent applied to clothing.
  • Carefully inspect your body after leaving infested areas.
  • Protect pets by preventing them from going into tick-infested areas or use tick treatment products.
  • Inspect pets carefully for ticks after walking them in wooded areas or fields.

To remove a tick embedded in your skin, do not grasp it by the abdomen and pull. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick by the head next to the skin and slowly pull backwards. Working slowly permits the tick to withdraw its mouthparts so they do not detach and remain in the skin and become infected. Once the tick has been removed, disinfect the bite site with alcohol or apply an antibiotic cream. If Lyme disease is prevalent in your community, save the tick in case it's carrying the germ that may cause this illness and take it to a public health laboratory for analysis.