Flea vs. Tick: What's the Difference?
Flea vs. tick — they may both be parasites, but they’re a nuisance in very different ways. See how Terminix can help.
Fleas and ticks are both common parasites that may be found on animals and people. So what’s the difference between a flea vs. a tick? While they both can transmit disease and bacteria, they have a lot more differences than they do similarities. The biggest difference between fleas and ticks is where they tend to invade. Fleas infest pets and can become a problem inside homes, but ticks prefer to stick to the outside and will occasionally latch on to your pets. Learn how you can tell them apart and what you can do to help get rid of them
Fleas and Ticks: Pictures and More
From afar, they may look the same on a pet or on your skin, but their characteristics and behavior are very different. Let’s take a closer look at flea and tick pictures, habitats and bites.
Ticks generally tend to be bigger than fleas, depending on the species. Fleas are around one-eighth of an inch in length and often look like specks of dust on fur or clothing. Ticks are teardrop-shaped and will have an enlarged abdomen after feeding.
Fleas don’t prefer to bite humans, but they will as a last resort when they can’t find a more suitable host. Ticks often aren’t so picky, and if a human walks by, they will latch on for days as they engorge themselves with blood. Fleas use their hind legs to jump on and off their hosts. Ticks can’t jump or fly but, instead, wait for hosts to come to them using a method called “questing.”
Fleas like to live in shaded, grassy areas. And since ticks can’t travel very far — they can’t fly or jump — they prefer to live near their hosts. They can be found near bird nests, rat burrows or in grassy and wooded areas home.
Flea vs. Tick Bites
When fleas bite, they inject saliva into their host’s skin. Common symptoms will include itchiness, scabs, rashes or irritated skin. Tick bites are typically painless, and most symptoms will not appear until after the tick has dropped off. Symptoms may include a rash around the bite wound, swelling, pain, fever, headache or sore muscles. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should seek medical attention immediately if you experience a severe headache, difficulty breathing, paralysis or heart palpitations. Both parasites can pick up pathogens for disease from an infected host. Fleas have been known to spread diseases such as typhus and plague, while ticks can spread diseases such as Lyme disease, tularemia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Fleas can infest pets and the inside of homes. To help combat fleas, you will want to:
- Regularly wash pet bedding, rugs and any items that pets frequently rest on.
- Protect you pets with a flea-repelling product that is recommended by your veterinarian.
- Vacuum daily to kill any fleas that may have jumped onto the floors.
- Consult a pest control company for an inspection and customized solution.
Ticks rarely infest the inside of a home, but they can become a problem in yards. To help get rid of ticks you can:
- Mow your yard regularly.
- Remove any large shrubbery from around your home.
- Remove any leaf, wood or debris piles from your yard.
- Contact a pest control company for an inspection and customized solution.
Terminix® has been in business for over 90 years — we know how to handle pests. Our professionals can inspect your home for free and create a customized treatment plan to help get rid of pests. Contact Terminix today to schedule a free inspection.