Are You Ticked Off?
Did you hear the one about the four types of ticks? Dog Ticks, Deer Ticks, Lone Star Ticks, and POLI-TICKS? Joking aside, ticks are no fun at all! At Hopper Termite & Pest, we take ticks and their threat very seriously. When the weather gets warmer, humans and their pets are not the only ones eager to get outside. Ticks will be out in full force, posing a significant health risk to humans and pets alike – spreading diseases like Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Here are some tick prevention tips, as well as a brief rundown about the types of ticks in our area and the dangers associated with them:
Avoiding a tick bite is, of course, plan A. Here are some things to consider to help reduce the risk of tick bites, as well as what to do if you find one already attached :
- Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes when outdoors.
- Wear light colored clothing so that ticks are easier to spot.
- Wear repellent containing at least 20 percent DEET.
- Keep your yard tick-free by removing weeds and cutting grass low.
- Inspect yourself, your family and pets for ticks after spending time outdoors.
- When hiking, stay in the center of trails and away from vegetation.
- If you find a tick on yourself or a family member, remove it with tweezers using a slow, steady pull so as not to break off the mouthparts and leave them in the skin. Then, wash your hands and the bite site thoroughly with soap and water. Ticks should be flushed down a toilet or wrapped tightly in tissue before disposing in a closed receptacle.
- Be on the lookout for signs of tick bites, such as a telltale red bull’s eye rash around a bite. If you suspect a tick has bitten you, seek medical attention.
- Learn the symptoms of Lyme disease and consult with your doctor immediately if you are concerned or experiencing symptoms.
- If you find a tick in your home or are experiencing a tick problem on your property, contact our licensed pest control professionals at Hopper Termite & Pest who can recommend a course of action.
Types of Ticks in Our Area
1. American Dog Tick
The American Dog Tick is named after its host of choice – the dog. These ticks are known vectors of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and exposure to these ticks is most common during spring and early summer.
American Dog Ticks are flat and oval in shape, and usually brown with whitish-gray markings. Similar to the Blacklegged Tick, these ticks have 6 legs as larvae but have 8 legs when they are adults.
American Dog Ticks are carriers of the bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a serious tick-borne illness with a mortality rate of over 20 percent if not treated early. Symptoms include high fever, chills, muscle aches, headaches, and sometimes a rash spread across the extremities 2-4 days after the fever begins. These ticks are also known vectors of Tularemia, a disease transmitted from rabbits, mice, squirrels and other small animals. Symptoms include an ulcer at the bite site, fever, chills and tender lymph nodes.
2. Brown Dog Tick
Similar to the American Dog Tick, the Brown Dog Tick is named for its preferred host. It is also named for its color. It is not common, but brown dog ticks will bite humans in the absence of a canine host.
As told by their name, Brown Dog Ticks are typically brown in color, but can become a gray and blue color when engorged. They are anywhere from 1/8” to 1/2” long and are oval-shaped and flat. Brown Dog Ticks, like the American Dog Tick, also have 6 legs as larvae and 8 as adults.
Brown Dog Ticks can be vectors of disease for dogs, transmitting tick-borne diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Canine Ehrlichiosis and Canine Babesia.
3. Lone Star Tick
Lone Star Ticks are named for their identifiable characteristic of a single spot located on the female’s back. Found mainly in the eastern and southeastern U.S., these ticks target humans more than any of the other tick species.
Lone Star Ticks are reddish brown and become dark gray once engorged. Similar to the other species of ticks, lone star tick larvae have 6 legs, while adults have 8. Female Lone Star Ticks are typically about 1/8” long when un-engorged but can grow to up to 7/16” when engorged. Male ticks are usually slightly smaller.
Lone Star Ticks are known vectors of many diseases, including Tularemia, Heartland Virus, Bourbon Virus and Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI). As with all ticks, early detection and removal is crucial, but lone star ticks have long mouth parts that can make removal especially difficult, as their mouthparts often break off while being extracted, resulting in further infection in the host.
4. Blacklegged (Deer) Tick
The Blacklegged (Deer) Tick is named for its notorious dark legs and is sometimes referred to as a deer tick because it prefers to host on the white-tailed deer. Found throughout the northeastern, mid-atlantic, southeastern and northcentral United States, Blacklegged Ticks are known vectors of Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Human Babesiosis, Powassan Encephalitis, and more.
Blacklegged Ticks are a flat, broad oval shape and are typically orange-brown in color with darker legs. They have 6 legs when they hatch, but develop 8 legs as adults categorizing them as arachnids and are 1/8” long on average.
Blacklegged Ticks are vectors of Anaplasmosis, Lyme Disease and Human Babesiosis. Symptoms of Lyme Disease include fever, headache, fatigue and a bull’s eye-shaped skin rash around the bite sight. If untreated, Lyme Disease can affect the joints, heart and nervous system. Blacklegged Ticks’ favorite feeding area on humans is at the back of the neck, making detection difficult if you have long hair.
60 Years and Counting
For three generations and almost 60 years, the Hopper family has believed a family-owned business is the best way to serve customers. We stay on the cutting edge of the latest pest control research and technology while remaining committed to the tried and true business principles we established in 1963. From our Northwest Arkansas and Mountain Home locations, our family is ready to serve your family.
For tick problems, termites, ants and more, we are your pest solution!