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Fleas, Mites and Ticks

Fleas and Ticks are very common in Australia. They can be prevalent in your home, especially if you keep pets. Both fleas and ticks are capable of transmitting diseases to you and your pets, some of which may be serious, if not treated properly. One of the most significant signs of a flea infestation in your home is finding itchy bites on your skin or fur loss on pets. And if you see even a single tick crawling around in your home, there is a good chance your house is infested.

Dog Flea

(Ctenocephalides canis)

Dog Fleas are small reddish brown wingless insects with tube-like mouthparts for feeding on the blood of their hosts. Their bodies are flattened to make it easy for them to travel through hair. The body is hard and has hairs and spines. They have long hind legs adapted for jumping.

lives amongst dog fur

adult dog fleas’ feeds on blood of their host. Larvae feed on organic matter including the faeces of mature fleas

Fleas lay small white oval eggs. The larvae are small, eyeless and worm-like covered in bristles. The larvae pupate in a silk, debris covered cocoon.

Fleas can be controlled by using products such as Frontline or Advantage. Brushing, combing and washing with shampoo all help in getting rid of fleas, but is not a complete solution. Cheap flea shampoo can reduce the effectiveness of treatments

Cat Flea   

Ctenocephalides felis

Cat Fleas are small reddish brown wingless insects with tube-like mouthparts for feeding on the blood of their hosts. Their bodies are flattened to make it easy for them to travel through hair. The body is hard and has hairs and spines. They have long hind legs adapted for jumping.

Size: 2mm


lives amongst cat fur

adult cat fleas’ feeds on blood of their host. Larvae feed on organic matter including the faeces of mature fleas

Fleas lay small white oval eggs. The larvae are small, eyeless and worm-like covered in bristles. The larvae pupate in a silk, debris covered cocoon.

Frontline and Advantage are good products for control of fleas on cats, togetherwith brushing and combing to reduce the numbers of adult fleas.

Oriental Rat Flea 

(Xenopsylla cheopis)

The Oriental Rat Flea is brown and has a laterally compressed body (flattened from side to side) body. The head does not have the spiky large combs like cat fleas and dog fleas. They are parasitic insects and vectors for disease such as plague.

Other Names: Tropical rat flea

Size: Body length 1.5mm to 4mm.

The primary host of Oriental Rat Flea is rats (Rattus species), but it will feed on other mammals including humans. This flea is the vector for transmitting murine typhus in Australia and is a primary carrier of plague in Asia, Africa, and South America. Xenopsylla cheopis is the flea species that was the main vector for the bubonic plague.

Fleas undergo a complete life cycle of egg, larva, pupa and adult. Completion of the lifecycle varies from a few weeks to months depending on temperature and food supply. The female flea lays about 15 to 20 tint white eggs per day on the host hair. The eggs fall off and hatch into larvae which develop on the ground in cracks and crevices. The larvae feed on organic debris but do not suck blood. The larvaepupate in a silk cocoon before emerging as adults and finding a host.

 Spider Mite 

(Tetranychidae family )

Spider Mites are usually found on the under sides of leaves of plants. They can damage the plant by puncturing plant cells to feed. Most Spider Mites are less than 1 mm in size and vary in colour. Many species spin a silk web to protect the colony from predators; this is the origin of their common name "Spider Mite". Populations often increase rapidly during hot dry conditions. Although mites have eight legs, they are not true spiders.


 Spider mites are visible to the naked eye only under the brightest light. Under a magnifying glass, they tend to look like little red spiders, though they may vary in colour. Their eggs look like tiny translucent pearls covered with webbing to protect against predators.


 Spider mites don’t travel much; they rarely leave the plant they’re feeding on. They can, however, infest other plants indoors, particularly if the plants are touching. Mites can also drop from one plant and crawl to another. In outdoor environments, spider mites can be transported on clothing or objects that touch infested plants.


 Spider mites may be found in homes with abundant plants, but since they can’t live far from their food source, they aren’t likely to disperse throughout the home. They may occasionally bite humans who brush past potted trees or handle plants directly. Bites will typically look like a very small pimple surrounded by a red circle. Several bites in the same area may form the appearance of a rash.

Size: 1mm

They lay small spherical transparent eggs

Clover Mites  

(Bryobia praetiosa)


Clover mite adults are oval shaped, eight legged, red collared and about as small as the head of a pin. The front pair of legs is very long compared to the other six legs and may be confused for the mite’s antennae.


Although clover mites are not a danger to human health and do not destroy furniture, clothing or food items, they can become an indoor nuisance when invading homes, business and medical facilities. Once inside, they will soon die, but not until they have created problems resulting from an annoying presence and cosmetic damage from red stains resulting from mites that are crushed. This stain is not the mite’s blood, but is the mite’s body pigments. Clover mites are not blood feeders, but feed on plants getting their nutrition from sucking plant juices from grasses, clover and other plants common to lawns.

Brown Dog Ticks

Rhipicephalus sanguineus


Adult brown dog ticks are reddish-brown and lack any easily noticeable markings that are found on many other tick species. Adults that have not taken a blood meal are about 1/8-inch long. Blood-fed females are about a ½-inch long and have a blue-gray coloration. Males are smaller than females, but are coloured very similarly.

Life Cycle

The brown dog tick is unique in its ability to complete the entire life cycle indoors. The brown dog tick is the species that is most often found in homes.

The life cycle of the brown dog tick develop through larval and nymphal stages prior to maturing into adults. Brown dog ticks are three-host ticks, meaning that they drop off the host after the meal before each of their developmental stages. However, if necessary, a brown dog tick can remain with one host throughout its life. Unlike tick species that require plants or soil for egg laying, female brown dog ticks are capable of laying thousands of eggs on any surface available to them.

Bird Fleas

Ceratophyllus Gallinae

Chicken fleas or the Ceratophyllus Gallinae are a common problem that infest bird cages, poultry shelters and other building structures where animals and birds are housed. Both, the male and female Ceratophyllus Gallinae, are known to bite their hosts, leaving behind red bite marks and spots. In case of very large infestations, it is not uncommon to see a decrease in egg production owing to chicken fleas.

Physical description and life cycle of Chicken fleas

Morphologically, chicken fleas can be identified based on the 4-6 bristles present on the surface of the hind femur. The adults are 2-2.5mm long. They have eyes and 24 teeth. There are no spines on the basal section of the legs.  The life cycle consists of eggs, three larval stages, pupa stage followed by adult chicken fleas.

The adult fleas spend majority of their time hiding in the host’s nests and come out onto the birds to feed for short durations.

Preventing Ceratophyllus Gallinae fleas

  1. The first thing to do is to keep the chicken coop clean and tidy. Clean and replace the bedding and nesting boxes regularly. Periodic inspection of the boxes, roosts and beds, especially around the corners can help prevent large Ceratophyllus Gallinae infestations down the line. Throw away or burn infested beds if required.
  2. Food grade diatomaceous earth powders should be sprinkled liberally around the coop. These are readily available in gardening supply stores. The powder works by dehydrating the chicken fleas and shredding their insides. The chicken flock can also be regularly dusted with the powders.
  3. Apple cider vinegar is especially beneficial in treating the chicken fleas on the host bird’s body. Diluted ACV can be sprinkled on the birds taking care not to spray the bird’s eyes or mouth.
  4. It is important to avoid using dog or cat flea products on chicken fleas. Permethrin, Carbaryl or boric acid powders can be fatal to the chickens.

Pigeon Tick

(Argas reflexus)

The pigeon tick Argas reflexus is a pathogen-transmitting soft tick that typically feeds on pigeons, but can also attack humans causing local and systemic reactions.


  • Soft tick approximately 3/16" long. 
  • The mouthparts are ventrally located and are covered by the front margin of the body so they are not visible from above. 
  • Bodies lack a scutum (a hard thickened plate) and the skin appears wrinkled and leather–like.


  • The females feed at intervals, increasing their body weight by up to three times, and then laying globular, dark brown shiny eggs in batches of 20 – 50. 
  • The larvae feed on the hosts for six to eleven days although the nymphs and adults only feed for up to 12 hours. 
  • Pigeons are the principal host but other bird species may also be fed upon. Humans may also be bitten.


  • The ticks feed at night and hide by day. 
  • They are commonly found in attics and rooms adjacent to areas where pigeons roost. 
  • Heavy infestations of these ticks can cause the death of the host pigeon

Can I just treat my pets rather than my house?

If your pet has fleas you must also treat the house to eliminate the problem. Treating your pet alone will not do the trick.

Flea eggs can lie dormant in your house for up to one year, giving you a yearlong "time release" flea infestation.

For every one flea you see on your pet there are 100 times as many in the house.

How long should I remain out of my house post treatment?

Make sure that all children or any person with asthma or other respiratory concern are out of the dwelling. They should remain out of the unit during spraying and for at least 6 hours after spraying. Ventilate the dwelling during and after spraying by opening windows, doors, and running fans. If you are pregnant or have respiratory problems or asthmatic or have an infant it’s advisable to leave your premises for 24 hours.

Why Hire a Pest Control Professional?

Why RedKnight Pest Control?

 Pests such as ticks and fleas are usually difficult to exterminate. These pests are small to the naked eye and remain hidden from plain sight until the damage is done. While home owners may take preventive measures such as ensuring that the house is clean and hence free of fleas and ticks, should there be an infestation, these pests are relentless when it comes to surviving in your home. They may relocate to another place to breed, making it nearly impossible to eradicate them entirely without professional help

 We are well-trained professionals specialising in flea and tick control in Melbourne . With our help, your tick and flea infestation problems will easily become a thing of the past. We are among the leaders in our field and pride ourselves for using only the most effective methods to carry out our pest treatments.

After all, the last thing you want is for the problem to resurface in the near future.

  • Our Qualified technicians understands fully all the problems when it comes to dealing with all the different types of fleas
  • Highly effective sprays or chemical-free heat treatments to target your particular situation.
  • Discrete advice and tailored solutions so your flea problem is sorted out without disrupting your business.

Pest Control Experts in flea, mites and ticks extermination in Melbourne, Ballarat and Geelong- Redknight

All treatment comes with warranties.