Ticks are arachnids in the same genus as spiders, mites, and scorpions. They get their nourishment from the blood of their hosts, feeding on two or three hosts throughout their development. There are many varieties of ticks , which are classified as hard or soft.
Here are various types of the hard tick variety:
- Blacklegged Tick – The common term for this species is “deer tick,” often found in national parks and forest areas. The adult is known to feed on white-footed mice, small mammals, and birds, as well as the white-tail deer and larger animals. They are known to carry Lyme disease, passing it on when feeding on humans and other hosts.
- Groundhog Tick – This tick is the most common to affect humans and domestic pets. They also attack rodents and small to medium-sized animals. Although rare, the groundhog tick can pass on the disease Powassan encephalitis.
- Winter Tick – The winter tick is very common, attacking deer, cattle, horses, elk and moose. They rarely feed on humans. Unlike other tick species, they only require one host for their development. Without control, the infestation of this tick can lead to the demise of the animals it feeds off.
- Rabbit Tick – This pest is common in Canada and feeds predominantly on rabbits. It will attack other small mammals and ground-nesting birds. Human attacks and livestock are rare. They carry tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which can be spread among wild animals.
- American Dog Tick – This is the second-most common tick species affecting pets and humans. They are most prevalently found on dogs but can affect horses, other large mammals, and humans. They carry tularemia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tick paralysis.
- Brown Dog Tick – This pest feeds on dogs and are only found indoors where pets are kept. Their feeding can lead to discomfort and blood loss in dogs, causing various canine diseases.
Hard Tick Behaviors
The hard tick belongs to the Ixodidae family. Both males and females have hard plates on their backs. Only the frontal area of the female tick’s body is covered with this hard plate, allowing for expansion when she is feeding and preparing to reproduce. She is six millimetres in length and can swell to thirteen millimetres after feeding. Both males and females rely on blood meals, but it is crucial for the female to be able to produce eggs.
A female can take up to one week to become fully engorged with blood from feeding. After mating, a female hard tick can lay thousands of eggs on the ground. The young are known as “seed ticks” with only six legs. They later mature into adulthood and the eight-legged stage. A full cycle of this arachnid is three years to maturity. After mating, males die. The female dies after laying her eggs.
Controlling and Preventing Tick Issues
It can be a difficult task to manage a tick issue without professional assistance, due to the reproduction habits of these pests. Taking preventative measures can prevent a tick problem:
- Avoid tick-infested areas – long/tall grasses, parks, and forestry regions.
- Wear clothes to cover bare skin. Secure pants, cuffs, and boot tops – anywhere that is easy access for the pest.
- Check your body, hair, clothes, and pets after venturing into wooded areas.
- DEET insecticide products can repel ticks. Spray yourself with the insecticide before going out where ticks may be found. Ask your pet store about natural, vinegar-based options that you can safely use on your dogs.
If you find a tick on yourself or pet, it can be removed carefully with tweezers right at the point where the mouth enters the skin. After removal, treat the area with an antiseptic. Never kill the tick before removal. For difficult tick issues, ask Mr. Pest’s professional staff. Our years of service and expertise can help you regain peace of mind and a pest-free environment. Contact us for further assistance – satisfaction guaranteed!