What Do Ticks Look Like?

July 21, 2017

Ticks seem to have taken top headlines in the news this year. The mild winter across the country, and particularly along the East Coast, has allowed ticks to remain alive and somewhat active throughout the entire year. This means that there were more ticks than usual as spring began – more ticks to breed, and more ticks to bite! The result has been a sort of tick explosion, or tick apocalypse of sorts. With all the talk about ticks and the diseases they can carry and transmit, it is important that you know how to identify this tiny arachnid. There are several species of tick that call the East Coast home; but by far, the most dangerous is the blacklegged tick, or deer tick as it is sometimes called.

The adult blacklegged tick is extremely small, measuring a mere 2 – 3 mm in length, which makes them roughly the size of a sesame seed. The nymphs are only 1-2 mm in length or roughly the size of a poppy seed. The adult males are generally all black while the females have black heads and orange to red bodies. Both have black legs, hence their name! All ticks have 8 legs, and all ticks have a 2-year life cycle.

The blacklegged tick is generally the most feared of all ticks because it is so numerous and because it can carry and transmit several serious and even deadly illnesses. They are most notable for the transmission of babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and the dreaded Lyme disease; but the deadly newcomer, Powassan virus, has made recent headlines only adding to the notoriety of this tiny threat.  

The best way to avoid contact with the blacklegged tick is to avoid densely wooded areas or areas of tall grass; but this is not always practical, and it is not always effective since ticks can be carried into your yard by woodland creatures like mice or squirrels - even when your yard is meticulously maintained. The best defense, aside from professional tick prevention services, is to use insect repellent that contains DEET whenever you spend time outside. Also, wearing long sleeves and pants that are tucked into your socks will limit areas of exposed skin. Wearing light colored clothing may help you see these tiny, dark arachnids before they bite. And, it is imperative that you check your family and your pets for ticks when you return from spending time outside. Showering when you come inside may help too. Also, make sure that your pets are regularly treated with a veterinarian approved tick control product to keep them safe and to prevent them from carrying ticks into your home.

This is really all that you can do to keep yourself safe from ticks when spending time out in the wild or in public areas, but you do have the choice to treat your own property with effective, ecologically responsible tick control products that work to drastically reduce the number of biting, disease spreading ticks on your own property. If you live in Aiken or in the Central Savannah River area and Midlands of South Carolina, contact the tick experts at Aiken Pest Control for comprehensive tick control services. To learn more about how we can affordably help you to reduce ticks, mosquitoes, and common household pests in and around your home, give us a call today.

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