You may not have given much thought to ticks before, but it could be incredibly beneficial, especially for pet owners, to become more familiar with the types of ticks in your area. Although these pests are small, ticks can carry and transmit deadly diseases, including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. There are many different species of ticks all around the world, but there are five which are most common.
The deer tick, which is also known as the “blacklegged tick,” is commonly located in the eastern half of the U.S., and is named for their tendency to feed on white-tailed deer. However, humans and domestic animals can become accidental hosts for deer ticks, which may result in Lyme disease caused from the bite. The deer tick is predominantly found in deciduous forest areas.
The American dog tick commonly carries diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia. Their hosts vary in size, but these ticks can even survive up to 2 years with no host at all. Adult males and females are active from April to early August, with nymphs active May through July, and Larvae active late April until September. This species is usually situated in grassy fields, scrubland, or other areas with little tree cover, as well as along walkways and trails.
The lone star tick is not associated with Lyme disease, although their bites can cause a circular rash similar to the rash of early Lyme disease. This breakout is sometimes accompanied by fatigue, headache, fever, and muscle pains. Lone star ticks are found throughout the eastern, southeastern and south-central states, in places of dense undergrowth and woodlands, particularly in animal resting areas.
Brown dog ticks are reddish-brown, and prefer to host on the blood of canines, but will host on humans and other animals, as well. Brown dog ticks can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever in all life stages but they can only transmit canine babesiosis and canine ehrlichiosis in the adult and nymphal stages. This species is noted for its unique ability to survive an entire lifetime indoors, hence their tendency to be most commonly located insides homes. And for this very reason, brown dog ticks are found throughout the world, even in areas of severely cold climates.
The wood tick, which is also referred to as the rocky mountain tick, has been known to transmit Colorado tick fever virus to humans, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever to dogs, cats, and humans. Their saliva also contains a neurotoxin able to cause tick paralysis in both pets and humans. Wood ticks have four pairs of legs, allowing them to easily move through their surroundings and through the hair or fur of their hosts. As a method of preventing wood tick infestations, keep any grass around the home very well-trimmed, as these ticks are primarily found in lightly wooded areas, grasslands, and shrub land.