Ticks are more than just creepy crawlers that live under rocks; they are also vectors for disease. Ticks are a nuisance in a rural farm setting, but in suburban and urban areas, where pets and people mingle, ticks can be a health threat. Fortunately, ticks don’t transmit disease when they are attached to an animal, but once they are detached from that host, they can transmit many dangerous diseases, such as Lyme disease.
Common FAQ’s About Ticks and What Ticks Look Like
What Do Ticks Look Like
When it comes to pest ticks, you can never be too careful. While headlines scream “T-REX ATTACK!” and “DANGER! ZOMBIES!” the pests that are most likely to bite you are often ones we least expect. Yes, it’s true—we could all be afraid of them, but these pests are actually more likely to bite us than we think. It’s why we often forget that rats, mice, and squirrels can all bite. After the spring, not only people and their pets are excited to go out for the warm weather. Ticks are also excited to go out and hunt for their host. The following are the different types of ticks and their looks.
Blacklegged (Deer) Ticks
This type of tick can still be recognized as one of the arachnids that have the size of a sesame seed. Blacklegged ticks, or deer ticks, are typically orange-brown colored with 8 darker legs. They are just broad oval shapes and flat ticks that stay with deer to feed blood from them.
Blacklegged (Deer) Ticks are parasitic (or ectoparasitic) arthropods that feed on the blood of animals and are masters at hiding. These ticks are most commonly found in wooded or suburban homes since they prefer to live close to their hosts. The female ticks lay their eggs in grassy areas, and the larvae (or nymphs) hatch in the spring when the host animals return. Ticks can hang on for 2-3 years until they find a host. Adult ticks feed for 2-3 months and then lay eggs in the fall. Ticks are attracted to warm, moist, wooded areas, so remember to keep your lawn manicured and check on your pets often.
American Dog Tick
The American dog tick (or brown dog tick) is a medium-sized tick that spreads disease. It’s brown on the outside, and inside, a yellow band runs along the tick’s body, giving it a yellow color. The tick’s hard, dark shell covers its entire body, save its mouthparts, including the teeth, which are small and difficult to see, even with a microscope. Ticks feed on blood, and they can transmit a range of diseases to people.
Ticks are parasites that like to live in warm, damp environments and are most likely found in wooded and grassy areas. In the United States, ticks love to live in wooded areas, where there is another tick breed, the American dog tick, to feast upon. Dog tick habits include burrowing into the environment, laying their eggs in the grass and leaves, hatching into larvae, and then maturing into adult ticks.
Brown Dog Tick
A brown dog tick is a small, sucking insect usually oval in shape and 1.5 to 3 mm long. Brown dog ticks and dog ticks look nearly identical, except that brown dog ticks have thinner legs and antennae, and the scutum (the protuberance resembling a shield) is larger.
Brown dog tick habits are the last thing on anyone’s mind when they adopt a puppy, but it’s important to look out for them early on. Brown dog ticks typically can transmit several diseases, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis, and Lyme disease. The best way to prevent brown dog ticks and transmitting diseases is to keep your dogs on tick control. Speak to your vet to find out if any tick control products are recommended for your breed.
Lone Star Tick
The color of the lone star ticks is reddish-brown, and they become dark gray once they are engorged. This tick is similar to the other tick larvae with six legs, while the adult has eight legs. The female lone star tick is about 1/8 long when they are engorged, but they can grow about 7/16 when they are engorged. As for the male size, they are a bit smaller than the female lone star tick.
The Lone Star tick, or Dermacentor variabilis, is a tick found in many parts of the United States. that prefers to live and breed in tall grassy areas and wooded and brushy areas. In Texas, the Lone Star tick has been found in all areas of the eastern part of the state, from the panhandle to Beaumont. The State of Texas reports sighting the Lone Star tick in Houston, Harris, Montgomery, Travis counties.
Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks
Rocky Mountain wood ticks are black or brown ticks with diamond-shaped “teeth” (or chelicerae) on the front of their jaw. Their tiny rounded bodies may grow to about 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) long, and they only live for about one year.
Rocky Mountain wood ticks live in most of the United States, at least in warmer climates. They prefer to live in wooded areas near homes, in parks, and in tall grass. They range from 1/16 to 1/8 inch long and about 1/16 to 3/16 inch wide. Females are smaller than males and lighter in color. Their bodies look both flattened and wedge-shaped. Wood ticks have large eyes, long antennae, and long legs.
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