Learn About Ticks: An Overview
Along with mosquitoes, ticks are some of the most dangerous insects in the United States. They can carry a wide variety of diseases that pose serious health risks to humans and animals alike.
What is there to learn about ticks and what tick pest control options are available to me?
If you are concerned about a tick infestation in or around your home, you should learn about ticks and their habits. Here is what you should know.
Common Types of Ticks
When you learn about ticks, you’ll find there are many different species of ticks that live in different parts of the world. Fortunately, you are only likely to stumble across the more common varieties of ticks.
The black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick, is one of the most common tick species in the United States. They are also the biggest cause of tick-borne diseases, carrying a wide array of illnesses. They have a flat, reddish-brown body, and measure less than one inch long when fully grown.
The lone star tick is another common breed; while they do not carry diseases to the same extent as the deer tick, they are still dangerous. They are only slightly larger than deer ticks. Females sport a white spot in the center of their back, while males have white stripes along their sides.
The final common species of tick is the dog tick. These are the largest of the three species with adult females measuring about one inch long at maturity. Both females and males are a deep brown color with intricate white markings along their backs.
Most tick species are relatively inactive, only moving when they detect potential prey nearby. They will lay in wait at ground level until an animal crosses their path; once a mammal passes by, the tick will latch onto the creature so that they can feed. These feeding sessions can last from three to five days.
Deer ticks live in bushy, uncut regions. Since they do not jump or fly, ticks need to use these plants to their advantage, crawling up high in order to properly latch onto their prey. However, ticks may be found in maintained areas, such as lawns and gardens.
Deer ticks spend a majority of their time on the ground underneath leaves and other forms of natural litter. They will only enter “questing” behavior when hungry; this occurs when a tick crawls to a higher vantage point to search for food. During this time, the tick is actively searching for a mammal to latch onto.
The Dangers of Ticks
Ticks, particularly black-legged ticks, pose a wide variety of dangers to those they feed on. You’ll find out when you learn about ticks that Lyme disease is perhaps the most widely known tick-borne disease. This bacterial infection causes a variety of symptoms and can lead to injury or even death if left untreated.
A tick must remain attached for at least 24 hours before Lyme disease can be transmitted. If you were bitten by a tick and are unsure how long it was attached, watch out for signs of Lyme disease and visit a doctor the moment symptoms occur.
Anaplasmosis is a rarer form of tick-borne illness, though it can be just as dangerous. It is the second most common tick-borne illness in the United States and is also transmitted through deer ticks. Those suffering from anaplasmosis may experience fever, chills, headaches, and muscle aches.
A few less common tick-borne illnesses include, but are not limited to:
- Powassan Virus Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
If you are bitten by a tick and begin experiencing any symptoms of a tick-borne illness, contact your doctor right away.
How to Prevent Tick Bites
One of the things you can learn about ticks is that there are a few ways you can prevent ticks from latching onto you. One of the most important things you can do while venturing through tick-infested regions is to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and tall boots. This makes it harder for the tick to find a place to latch onto.
Tick repellents should also be used whenever venturing through tick-infested areas. There are many options available to you, so take the time to search for pest control for ticks before going on a hike.
You should always check for ticks following a hike in tick habitats. Make sure you check on and beneath the clothes, as well as in the hair for any signs of ticks. Remove the tick carefully if you find one, getting the head and body out in one go; leaving the head under the skin could put you at risk of tick-borne illnesses.
Tick Pest Control Options
While ticks prefer to be in natural habitats, they may take up residence in your yard. If you notice that ticks have made a home in your space, then you need to contact tick pest control services right away. The longer you leave the ticks alone, the more risk you put yourself in.
Trim and maintain your lawn in order to prevent ticks from taking residence on the ground. The fewer safe spaces they have to stay in, the less likely they are to live on your lawn. You should also remove any natural debris so that the ticks don’t have any places to hide.
Keep Ticks Out of Your Space
While ticks can be dangerous, there are enough tick pest control options available to you to keep you safe and secure at home. Remember, if you plan on going through an area where ticks tend to live, prepare yourself before going. The last thing you want is to come home with a stowaway.
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While your learn about ticks, these tips will help – but there is no guaranteed way to eliminate all the risks.