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Fleas

8 Fascinating Flea and Tick Facts

Cedarcide blog post image, 8 Fascinating Flea and Tick Facts

Fleas and ticks are horrible, annoying pests. They’re hard to get rid of, hard to live with, and just downright weird. Think about: They suck your blood, so they’re basically vampires, and when you look at them under a microscope, they look like aliens or some kind of twisted mutants. Turns out, the more research you do, the stranger they get. From amazing super powers to disgusting lifestyle habits, here’s 8 fascinating flea and tick facts you might not know.

Ticks Use Glue to Stick to You

Ever wonder why ticks are so good at sticking to their hosts? The answer is glue, or something very much like it. When a tick climbs onto a host to feed, their mouth secretes a liquid-concrete-like material called cementum. This same material helps the tick create a barbed feeding tube, making them even harder to remove. A tick’s saliva also contains a numbing agent with anti-inflammatory properties, which allows the parasite to feed unnoticed.

 

Fleas and Ticks Use Your Pet Like a Toilet

Fleas and ticks create a lot of waste when they eat. And because they feed on your pet’s body, guess where all that feces goes? You guessed it: Your pet. All those tiny black dots you see in your dog’s coat right around the bite site, yeah…that’s poop. Fleas produce tons of feces for their size, so much so that it’s actually the flea larvae’s primary source of food. Tick poop, while equally gross, is far more dangerous, as it can contain bacteria that spread Lyme disease.

 

They Can Go Months Without Eating

One of the reasons fleas and ticks are so hard to control is because they’ve evolved to be extremely durable organisms. One feature of this durability is that both parasites can survive extended periods without food. Fleas are known to go up to 100 days between blood meals (flea pupae up to a year), whereas ticks are said to be capable of going several years without feeding.

 

These Parasites Carry Their Own Parasites

When fleas infest your pet’s fur, they’re bringing some nasty friends along with them. Did you know a single flea can carry upwards of 150 parasitic mites? These mites transmit everything from tapeworms and bacteria to diseases such as typhus and cat scratch fever.

Fleas Are Superhero-Quality Jumpers

We all know fleas are talented jumpers, but this is ridiculous. Not only can fleas jump over 110 times their body length (which is like a human jumping over a skyscraper), but they can jump over 30,000 times without stopping for a rest—which is just insane! Craziest of all, when a flea jumps, it accelerates 20 times faster than the launch of a space shuttle!

 

Fleas Can Lay up to 50 Eggs a Day

While 20 is more the average, it’s not uncommon for a flea to lay 50 eggs in a single day. Just think: If a female lays 50 eggs in one day, and half those eggs are females, you could be facing over 20,000 fleas in as little as 60 days. In other words, a flea infestation can get out of hand in no time.

 

Fleas Can Cause Anemia

In severe cases, a flea infestation can drain so much blood from a host that anemia can occur. This happens almost exclusively in young animals, and is quite uncommon. In rare cases, blood transfusions are necessary.

 

Tick Bites Can Turn You Into a Vegetarian

Well, sort of. In some cases, a bite from a lone star tick can trigger an allergy to red meat in both dogs and humans. Severe Itching, hives and a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction can occur in individuals suffering from this peculiar side effect. Worst of all, no one really knows how long this tick-caused allergic reaction may last.

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How Cedarwood Oil Kills Bugs

Cedarcide blog post image, How Cedarwood Oil Kills Bugs

In case our name didn’t give it away, cedarwood oil is the driving force behind our pest control products here at Cedarcide. So naturally, the obvious question is: How does it work? How does cedarwood oil (aka cedar oil) kill bugs? While the answer can get a bit technical, there are 6 basic ways cedarwood oil works to kill and repel pests like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, ants, mites and more. Here’s a simple outline of each one.

Dehydration

Most bugs are extremely sensitive to moisture loss, which is bad news for bugs that come into contact with cedarwood oil. Cedarwood oil is extremely effective at leaching moisture from insects and other bugs, leaving them dried out and eventually dead.

It Disrupts Their Pheromones

Pheromones are chemicals that many bugs use for navigation, mating, searching for food, as well as to regulate bodily functions. Cedarwood oil disrupts these pheromones which not only disorients the insects but interferes with their fundamental bodily processes like breathing. The disorientation helps repel insects and other bugs, the interference with their bodily mechanisms kills them.

It Dissolves Them

Insects in earlier life stages—eggs, larvae, pupae—are extremely vulnerable, so vulnerable in fact that cedarwood oil can dissolve them on contact. In adult insects, arachnids and other bugs, cedarwood oil helps dissolve their exoskeleton. This allows the essential oil to penetrate their shell, hastening the oil’s pest control effects.


Emulsification

Emulsificationor the breakdown of fat particles, is another way that cedarwood oil works to control bugs. Like many organisms, bugs require fat to live. By helping disintegrate this fat into smaller, more fluid parts, cedarwood oil attacks bugs from the inside out.

 

Suffocation

As mentioned above, cedarwood oil can interfere with bugs’ capacity to breathe. Unlike mammals, bugs breathe through openings located on the surface of their bodies. When faced with the lethal effects of cedarwood oil, bugs attempt to limit their exposure by closing these openings, which prevents them from breathing. In other words, the bugs suffocate themselves.


It Messes With Their Body Chemistry

Like most every living thing, bugs must maintain a specific chemical balance to stay alive. Any drastic changes in this balance can have deadly results. Cedarwood oil neutralizes the acidity within bugs’ bodies, effectively throwing this balance out of whack. As a result they cannot properly function, and shortly die.

 

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