Flea Vs Tick

We consider the topic Fleas vs ticks because most people finds it difficult to differentiate between the two. Fleas and tick are common bugs found on the furs of our pets and they can cause irritating bites and transmit diseases to them. They do not only affect animals; they can also cause potential threats to the owners of these animals. Both bugs share some similarities and differences, which we shall be discussing in this article to help you understand the differences between the two and identify and know how to treat an infestation caused by any of them.


Fleas are an external parasite that lives off the blood of warm-blooded animals. They are small wingless insects that can cause severe inflammation to the skin and intense itching. Commonly, fleas are found on the furs of animals, tall grasses, rugs, and doormats in the house. An adult flea varies from about 0.1-0.32 cm in length, and light brown-black in color, and their females have a high reproduction rate. Meanwhile, ticks are often harmless blood-sucking insects with 8 legs, commonly found outdoors in grasses, trees, shrubs, and leaf piles.

Ticks range in color depending on their type, as there are different types of ticks. So they could be brown, reddish brown, or black. they also range in size, from as small as a pin’s head to as large as a pencil eraser. As they keep sucking on their host, they keep growing and when they get to their largest, they could swell up to the size of a marble and turns greenish-blue.

FLEA VS TICK: Similarities

Let’s consider some features both parasites have in common:

  • They can both transmit diseases. While fleas can transmit tapeworms, tick transmits lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If left unattended, these insects can cause some serious health issues for the animals.
  • They feed on the blood of both people and animals.
  • They use their sharp mouthparts to cut into the skin of their host, so they could access blood vessels. Often this irritates the skin, leaving a red mark behind.
  • Both can be treated using the same products, especially if it’s your pets you’re treating for either a flea or tick infestation.

FLEA VS TICK: Differences

There are so many differences between fleas and ticks, including;

1. Type Of Parasite

Although both are wingless, fleas are 6-leg parasites that can jump, while ticks are 6-8 legs parasites in the family of arachnids, which means they are related to spiders.

2. Weather Tolerance

While we may think that both insects are common in warmer months, fleas thrive much better than ticks in warm environments. Ticks are better adapted to survive in cold environments and can even withstand snow.

3. Diseases They Transmit

Fleas carry tapeworms and can cause skin issues, and flea allergy dermatitis, while infected ticks can transmit potentially deadly diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and lyme disease.

4. Choice Of Host

Adult fleas prefer to find one host, usually a cat or dog, and they stay stuck to them until they die or are eliminated. Ticks on the other hand feed on multiple hosts for up to 2 weeks at a time throughout the different stages of their development and can live up to 3 years in different environments.

5. Appearance

Fleas are a lot tinier than ticks. They are about 1/8th of an inch long and often appear as small dark specs on fur and clothing, they are more visible under a microscope. Whereas ticks are larger than fleas, although they are of different species and differ in their color and size, they are flat teardrop-shaped insects.

6. Infestation

Fleas typically cause indoor infestation, and this can be a serious issue. when your pets go outdoors, get infested, and return, fleas can drop onto your furniture, carpet, rug, or doormats where they will reproduce and hide. Until you treat your pet and home with flea treatment products, they will continue to feed on your pets and can even feed on you.

Meanwhile, ticks typically don’t cause an indoor infestation, they just wait around and latch onto their host as they walk by.

7. Treatment

If you have a flea infestation, you will likely need to use a premise product to clean and treat the areas of your house exposed to the infestation, and give your pet a flea bath, or treat them with a preventive. With ticks, you will want to remove them as fast as possible and also bath your pet if they are seriously infested.

Flea Vs Tick
Flea Vs Tick


When it comes to flea and tick bites, although both insects live off of the blood of their host, they bite and feed differently, hence, their bites also appear differently. Flea bites usually appear in clusters of 3 or 4 on a straight line. They look like a small red bump with a halo around the bite center. You may notice flea bites around the legs, ankles, waist, armpit, or groin. Flea bites could get infected by bacteria due to excessive scratching of the bite site.

Symptoms of flea bites may include:

  • Itching
  • A rash near the site of the bite
  • Soreness

Ticks on the other hand usually bite once instead of in clusters. Ticks can remain glued to the skin of their host for up to 10 days after the first bite and they keep getting bigger and bigger until they become easy to spot. Depending on the specie of tick, most tick bites cause no physical signs or symptoms, while some causes a red or discolored bump to appear that looks similar to a mosquito bite. Tick bites are usually harmless and come with no symptoms, but if you do experience any symptoms, it could be an allergic reaction to tick bites.

Symptoms of tick bites may include:

  • A rash
  • Blisters
  • Burning sensation at the bite site
  • In severe allergy, you may experience shortness of breath.

FLEA VS TICK: Treatment

When treating flea and tick bites at home, you should thoroughly wash the bite site with soap and water, but in the case of a tick bite, remove the thick first using a pointed tweezer. After washing, apply calamine lotion to the area to help relieve symptoms.

There are so many different treatment medications to help you combat either tick or flea infestation in your pet, and the most popular kind of effective treatment is a topical medication, also called “spot on” medications, generally applied once a month. Some topical medications not only kill fleas, but also repel them.

In getting topical medications for your pets, look out for the following active ingredients:

  • Fibronil
  • Imidacloprid
  • Pyrethroids

In the case of home infestation, you may want to vacuum clean your house, as that will help get rid of the insects better than sweeping since they are tiny insects and can hide in small crevices. You could also call a pest control agency for professional assistance.


Flea are more common in cats than ticks, however, while fleas can cause physical discomfort as well as transmit diseases, ticks, though less common, can also transmit diseases when they feed on their host. To protect your cat from flea and ticks, it is advised that they remain indoors as cats that are kept indoors are far less prone to being attacked by external parasites.

In case your cats are already infested, using a topical medication that kills fleas and ticks will be an effective treatment measure. Using flea and tick collars will also help protect your cat from infestation, although they should be changed every 30 days.


Fleas, ticks, and bed bugs, although they may have a few things in common, they also have things that set them apart from each other. 

Bed bugs are small, flat, oval, reddish-looking parasites that hide around dark spots in a bedroom. They are about ¼ inch long, about the size of a pinhead or an apple seed, and with 6 legs. They are slow to reproduce, unlike fleas. It takes them up to 6 weeks for a nymph to grow into a fully developed bed bug. They have a life span of 6-12 month

 Unlike fleas and ticks, bedbugs do not stick to the skin of their host. A bedbug bite usually does not result in physical symptoms, but you may notice clusters of the red, itchy bump.

For things they have in common:

  • They are small-sized parasites
  • They live off the blood of warm-blooded animals
  • All wingless
  • All cause itching


Fleas and ticks have a lot in common, however, there are some differences also, and being able to know their differences, will help you know which of them has infested your pet or home, then you can know how to treat them. They are common pests that affect our pets and if not treated on time, it becomes a home infestation also.

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