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About Ectoparasite
An ectoparasite (or external parasite) is a parasite that attaches itself to the outer skin of their hosts, feeding and thriving for its entire life cycle, completely dependent on the host for nourishment. Below are some of these types of parasites that actively feed off humans and animals:

• Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus Sanguineus)
• Cat Flea (Ctenocephalides Felis),
   Dog Flea (Ctenocephalides Canis)
   Oriental Rat Flea (Xenopsylla Cheopis) &
   Human Flea (Pulex Irritans Linnaeus)
• Bed Bug (Cimex Lectularius Linnaeus)
Know Your Pest
Mosquitoes are insects with......
Termites are small, soft bodied......
Rodents are considered a......
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Cockroaches are an extremely......
Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus Sanguineus)
This is one of the most widely distributed ticks in the world and they feed exclusively on the blood of vertebrates. There are records of its occurrence in other hosts such as domestic cats and humans but the most common host is the domestic dogs. Different stages of ticks that had fed will dropped from the host and seek protection in the immediate surroundings such as baseboards, around window, door moldings and furniture and homeowners very often realized the existence of ticks only when they are encountered crawling on carpets, walls and furniture.

Adult males are flat, about 3mm long and uniformly red- brown with tiny pits scattered over the back. They do not enlarge upon feeding as females do. Adult females resemble the adult in size, colour and shape. As they feed, female becomes engorged and swell to about 12mm long and 6mm wide. The enlarged portion of the body becomes gray- blue to olive colour while the rest of the body remains red- brown. This red- brown colour of brown dog tick is distinctive as no other commonly found ticks encountered will be uniformly red- brown in colour.

As ticks cannot run, hop, fly or move quickly, ticks must climb onto an appropriate object, such as tall grass to wait for a suitable host to pass by. When they detect vibrations and chemical odors such as host odors or exhaled carbon dioxide, they fall from their perch and snag or attach onto the passing host (a mammal with a fur coat, eg., dog or cat). Ticks are also capable of detecting shadows cast by a passing host. The adult ticks commonly attached itself to the ears and in between the toes and the larvae and nymphs are often found in the hair along the back. While they are often found on the indicated host body regions, they are not restricted to these regions and may be found on practically any part of the dog’s body. Female ticks may lay as many as 5000 eggs in cracks and crevices and the eggs will hatch in about 3 weeks. After hatching, the larvae wait for a dog to attach to and can survive up to 8 months waiting for a host. Adult ticks can live up to 1.5 years without feeding.

A home can become heavily infested if the family dog picked up ticks from an infected residence, boarding kennel, open field, or similar place where other infested dogs have been present. An infested dog may visit the residence, during which some ticks may drop off. In this case, the home and yard may become infested even though a dog is not generally kept there. Dogs do not become infested through direct contact with other dogs as ticks feeding on a dog drop off and molt before they resume host- seeking behavior and attach to another dog.

Certain species of ticks carry diseases organisms such as Lyme disease, typhus etc. However most of the ticks problem including brown dog ticks encounter in and around homes do not involve the disease- carrying species.

Cat Flea (Ctenocephalides Felis), Dog Flea (Ctenocephalides Canis) Oriental Rat Flea (Xenopsylla Cheopis) & Human Flea (Pulex Irritans Linnaeus)
Fleas are pests of humans and their domestic animals all over the world. Fleas can be very persistent and difficult to control in many situations contributed by factors such as growing pet population worldwide in urban and suburban communities and reported resistance to insecticides. Treatment for fleas had to be conducted by pest management professional with the co-operation and assistance of pet and home owners in order to solve the problem effectively further compounded the problem.

Fleas are small, wingless insects that average 2mm to 4mm long and can be as small as 1mm. When view from the front, head on, the adult flea’s body is narrow from side to side. This allows it to move readily between hairs in animal’s fur into very narrow areas, such as crevices and folds of upholstery or even below flooring. The flea body is also covered with spines that project backward, making it well adapted for moving forward between hairs and feathers of the host’s body. These same spines make removal of the flea, by shaking or scratching difficult. Adult fleas have piercing- sucking mouthparts to penetrate the skin of the host and suck blood. Their long, powerful legs permit them to jump as high as 20cm vertically and 40cm horizontally.

While most fleas prefer non- human hosts, many can and do feed readily on humans where infestations are heavy and other hosts are not available. Fleas are encountered when they are seen jumping or when human are bitten by hungry fleas. Fleas can occur even where there are no obvious animal hosts on the premises. When pets have been removed, such as vacation periods or when a home is vacated, flea larvae will continue to develop. When humans return to the premises, the pre- emerged and emerged but starved adult fleas will feed vigorously. Flea pupa in its cocoon can remain in a pre- emerged adult stage for up to a year till a host appear to feed. The typical skin reaction to fleas bites are formations of small, hard, red slightly raised, itching spot with a single puncture point generally apparent in the center of each spot.

Cat and dog fleas as the name implied are usually found in cats and dogs respectively but will bite humans. Both flea species are intermediary hosts of the internal parasite (endoparasite) Dog Tapeworm, which is common in both cats and dogs. When playing near infested pets, children can become infected with this tapeworm by accidental ingestion of fleas that carry this endoparasite. Oriental rat flea is the chief carrier of the organism of bubonic plague and murine typhus. Rats are the preferred host for this flea specie, although it does occasionally bite human. Human flea is not uncommon in homes throughout the world. It can survive exclusively on human hosts but is regularly found on swine and dogs. This flea species are capable of transmitting the plague bacteria.

Bed Bug (Cimex Lectularius Linnaeus)
Bedbugs were at one time a common pest of the slum and other poor properties, but were much reduced by higher standards of hygiene and the use of insecticide such as DDT from 1930s to 1980s, however bedbugs have dramatically increased in recent years. The increased in the developed countries may have been caused by increased international travel, resistance to pesticides, more frequent exchanges of second- handed furnishing among homes, greater focus on other control of other pest while others believed it might simply be the cyclical nature of the bedbugs. The exact causes of this resurgence remain unclear but bedbugs have been known human parasites for thousands of years. It is common in apartment buildings, hotels and motels with rapid turnover of residents.

Adult bedbugs (5mm long) is oval, flattened, red- brown, without wings and can live several months up to a year without food. Bedbugs are nocturnal insects that feed at night and are not evident in the day, hiding in cracks, crevices, furniture, mattresses, bed frame, bed spring headboards etc. These harborages are also their breeding places and the eggs are cemented to these surfaces, close to where the meal (blood) is. The male, female and young nymphs all feed on blood.

A sign of bedbug infestation is the unpleasant smell they emit from their stink glands. Another sign are spots of their faecal deposits. Bedbugs come out of their hiding places at night and bite humans, as well as other mammals like mice, rats and house pets attracted by bodily warmth and carbon dioxide exhaled through our breathing cycle. The bedbug takes between 3 to 15 minutes to feed themselves with 1ml of blood very often without the host feeling the actual bite in progress. Individual’s responses to bites vary, ranging to no visible effects to small, hard swelling, prominent wheals with intense itching that last several days for some people. The skin reaction usually occurs in the areas of the bites which are most commonly the arms, shoulders and legs as they are frequently exposed at night. Some individuals affect by serious infestation and chronic attacks very often results having anxiety, stress and insomnia. Development of delusional parasitosis is also observed in patients due to the person develops an overwhelming obsession with bedbugs. Regarded by most with abhorrence but no evidence that bedbug is a carrier of disease.

The rise in bedbug’s infestation has been hard to track because bedbugs are not an easily identifiable problem. Bedbugs are an increasing cause for litigation in some countries, court in these countries has in some cases exacted large punitive damage judgments on some hotels. Many home- owners that have been afflicted with bedbugs tend to be silent publicly in order not to ruin their property values and be seen as blight typically associated with lower classes. Therefore, bedbugs problem may be more severe worldwide than is currently believed.

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