Did you hear about the tick scientists recently discovered that lives on the moon? It’s a new bioluminescent bug that performs a strange dance any time there is a full moon. It’s called a “RAVING LUNA TICK!”
Joking aside, ticks are no joke! Hopper Termite & Pest take ticks and their potential threat very seriously. Ticks are mostly active during the summer, fall and spring months. 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 and can pose a significant health risk to humans and pets alike, spreading diseases like Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Here is everything you need to know about ticks in our area, how to prevent tick bites, and the dangers associated with these potentially dangerous pests.
TYPES OF TICKS
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 normally hide in grass and shrubs and wait for a passing host to latch on to. They can also be found in the den or nests of common hosts, such as skunks, raccoons, opossums, and rodents. These ticks prefer the nesting areas of the white-footed mouse because they are often in well-sheltered places such as underground, in tree stumps, old bird nests and woodpiles.
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. These ticks will typically crawl for up to 4 hours before they attach and have to then be attached for 6-8 hours before disease transmission occurs, so early detection and tick removal is key.
American Dog Tick
The American Dog Tick is named after its host of choice – the dog. These ticks are only found throughout North America and are a member of the hard tick family. American Dog 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. They range anywhere from 5 mm to 15 mm in size depending on whether or not they are engorged.
American Dog Ticks prefer grassy areas with low vegetation where larger animals commonly pass by and thrive in areas that are also accessible to humans. When these ticks latch on to dogs, they are brought into the home and can potentially be transferred to humans. American Dog Ticks are extremely resilient and are able to survive for 2-3 years without feeding.
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.
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 are unique from the other species of ticks because they are the only kind that can complete their entire life cycle indoors, as they survive best in warm, dry conditions. They prefer to host on dogs and usually attach to dogs’ ears or between the toes.
Brown Dog Ticks can be vectors of disease for dogs, transmitting tick-borne diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Canine Ehrlichiosis and Canine Babesia.
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 three-host ticks, meaning they attach to a different host during each stage of their lifespan: larvae, nymph and adult. They attach to their host by crawling up the tips of low-growing vegetation, such as grass, and wait for the host to pass by and brush against the vegetation. As nymphs and adults, lone star ticks will also crawl on the ground to find the host and attach. These ticks are most often found in shaded areas, as they cannot survive for long in the sun. Larvae prefer small animals, including rabbits, skunks, raccoons, cats and birds, while nymphs typically target a mix of small and large animals. Adult Lone Star Tick hosts are larger animals, such as foxes, dogs, cats, deer, turkey, cattle and humans – who are fed on by all three stages of lone star ticks.
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 oftentimes break off while being extracted, resulting in further infection in the host.
Rocky Mountain Wood Tick
The Rocky Mountain Wood Tick is named after the habitat it is most commonly found – throughout the wooded areas of the Rocky Mountain states. They are also commonly referred to as Wood Ticks.
Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks are oval and flat in shape and are usually brown but become gray when they are engorged. They can range from 1/8” to 5/8” in length. As is customary with the other tick species, Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks have 6 legs as larvae and 8 as adults.
Similar to the Lone Star Tick, Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks are a three-host tick, with each stage requiring a new host. These ticks are at their highest threat level from mid-March to mid-July. Larvae and nymphs typically feed on rodents, like squirrels, chipmunks and voles, while adults feed on larger animals, including sheep, deer and humans. Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks are typically found in wooded areas, open grasslands and around trails where they can easily attach to a host.
The biggest threat posed by the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), an infectious disease that can turn deadly if not treated in a timely manner. The main symptom of RMSF is a full body rash 2-5 days after the bite.
Make sure to follow these prevention tips to reduce the risk of tick bites:
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.
You probably thought that since our area of the country experienced a cold winter with many days being below freezing that pests wouldn’t be such a problem. The reality is that most insects can withstand a harsh winter environment. This includes the tick. In fact, ticks don’t die in the winter, they just go dormant until temperatures rise above a certain point, or they latch on to an animal to keep warm and fed.
With the recent reports of the Longhorned tick being discovered in Arkansas, most people have ticks on their radar...and they should. Here are a few tips to keep ticks out of your home and yard and what to do about ticks you find on your body.
TICKS, TICKS, AND MORE TICKS
In early June, ticks made headlines here in Arkansas. A Longhorned tick was discovered on a dog in Benton County. There are only three other states where the Longhorned tick has been identified. Why is this tick so concerning?
The Longhorned tick reproduces at a quick rate. Females can even reproduce without a male partner. They are also very small in size. And for those who raise livestock, this particular tick has been known to cause stunted growth and even death in livestock.
And like other ticks, the Longhorned tick is also known to transmit bacterial diseases like Lyme disease. Certain types of ticks in Arkansas are known to spread bacterial diseases and illnesses such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and more. From flu-like symptoms to keeping your chronically ill for a very long time, tick bites can cause more than just an annoying itching spot on your body.
GET RID OF TICKS IN YOUR YARD AND HOME
While ticks can cause some horrible infections and diseases, the good news is that you can prevent the spread of tick bites and tick-borne diseases. Here are a few things you can do to keep ticks from making your home their home.
Mow the Yard
For most people, this is a must during the summer months. Most ticks prefer long, thick grass to hide out in. It’s also a good idea to remove any piles of leaves and cut down any thick bushes. You also want to make sure that you don’t have several plants and bushes near the house since this is how most pests easily gain entry into your home.
Get Rid of Rodents
Most ticks require a certain level of humidity in order to thrive. This is good news for homeowners because most ticks cannot survive inside of a home due to the lack of moisture. However, if you have a rodent problem, then ticks may find it easy to gain entry into your home and possibly survive long enough to pose a problem.
Use Plants that Deter
Like the smell of citronella is used to keep mosquitoes away, certain types of plants are used to keep ticks away. Try planting sage, mint, lavender, and eucalyptus around areas where you and your family like to spend quality time outdoors. Not only will you have a fresh aroma all around, but it could keep some of those ticks away.
REMOVE TICKS FROM YOUR BODY
Keeping ticks out of your lawn in one thing. It’s another thing to keep ticks off your body. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Wear insect repellent.
- Cover your body. It may be hot, but clothing can keep ticks from latching on to your body.
- Take a shower immediately after coming inside, especially if you have spent time near tall grass.
- Check for ticks on a regular basis. The sooner you are able to remove a tick, the better your chances are of NOT getting a tick-borne illness.
- If you find a tick, remove it carefully and try not to squish it if possible. Remember to wash the area of the bite and your hands immediately after.
CALL THE PROFESSIONALS AT HOPPER TERMITE & PEST
Not only are ticks annoying pests, but they can put you and your family at risk of developing serious health issues. Don’t just prevent ticks and tick bites, call in the professionals to eliminate ticks from your home environment.
With a free pest evaluation, our trained technicians can inspect your property and give you solutions for eliminating pests such as ticks and more. We two offices, located in Mountain Home and Springdale, Hopper Termite & Pest is able to provide service for several areas surrounding these towns and even southern Missouri. Give us a call today at 1-888-863-0206 to schedule your FREE pest evaluation and take back your yard.