Blood feeding arthropods are of great concern to the public not only because of their annoying and often painful bites, but more importantly because many are vectors of pathogens.
Adults feed on blood; larvae feed on organic debris. Fleas and ticks are attracted to animals by body heat, movement and the carbon dioxide that animals exhale.
Fleas and ticks are usually found on cats and dogs year-round, but most common during warm and humid weather. The lifespan on dogs is typically more than 100 days which is enough time for a pair of fleas and their descendants to produce millions of offspring. Under ideal conditions, assuming no mortality, a pair of fleas has the potential to produce more than 20 trillion descendants in one year. Other animals ticks and fleas are found on include opossums, rats, other rodents and humans.
Ticks and fleas can transmit tapeworms from dogs and rodents to other animals and humans. They can jump up to 150 times the length of their body. Fleas and ticks have been known to transmit several major human diseases including plague, murine typhus, Bartonellosis and tapeworms.