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There are few pest problems as serious as a tick infestation. The threat can be understood best by describing this bug. A tick is an arachnid that chooses a host creature, feeds on its blood, extracts human spread pathogens, and is able to spread these pathogens to the next host. And, if all of that isn't bad enough, the pathogens they are able to spread include Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, tularemia, Southern tick-associated rash illness, and more. Symptoms of these illnesses include chills, severe headache, muscle pain, joint pain, lethargy, restlessness, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, facial drooping, arthritic neck stiffness, and lifelong health complications. Fortunately, ticks are not born with these pathogens, not every species carries all of these pathogens, and some ticks do not choose humans as hosts. Here are four ticks you should watch out for if you live in South Carolina.

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tick embedded in skin

Blacklegged Tick aka Deer Tick Ixodes scapularis (woodland tick)

You'll notice that three of the ticks in our list are woodland ticks. This means that they live in nature, not inside homes. But that doesn't mean they can't attach to you inside your home. If you own pets, or you have an infestation of rodents, you can be exposed to these tiny ticks and the diseases they are able to spread. The most noteworthy disease spread by the deer tick is Lyme disease. That is why we've placed it at the top of our list.

The best protection for blacklegged ticks is the prevention of wildlife in your yard, a complete exclusion of rodents from your home, and targeted tick treatments in the areas that these bugs hide.

It is important to understand that blacklegged ticks are extremely small. As many as 100 can be on a single field mouse. And these ticks can also attach themselves to birds. If you have bird feeders in your yard, you may be inviting more than those pretty birds onto your property.

Lone-Star Tick aka Seed Tick Amblyomma americanum (woodland tick)

This is a tick that is easy to recognize. It sports a white dot on its back which is one of the reasons for its Lone-Star name. This white marking can even be seen when this species of tick is engorged with blood. Like all ticks, the Lone-Star tick looks quite different when it is filled with blood. It goes from being a tiny brown, eight-legged bug, to a large grayish blob with its tiny legs poking out from underneath, and its head poking out from the front. But just above the head, you'll see that white dot.

What is most important to understand about the Lone-Star tick is that it is able to spread southern tick-associated rash illness, tularemia, and ehrlichiosis to humans. It is also able to infect dogs with canine ehrlichiosis.

Use the same preventative measures for this tick as you would the blacklegged tick above.

American Dog Tick aka Wood Tick Dermacentor variabilis (woodland tick)

While the American dog tick is likely to be found in wooded areas, it is likely to be found in areas that have livestock or animals that live outside. They are also commonly found on rodents. Though not suited to living inside a home, they can be carried in on any creatures with fur. This tick species selects a wide range of hosts.

The human-spread diseases associated with this tick are tularemia, Colorado tick fever, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Use the same preventative measures for this tick as you would the blacklegged tick above.

Brown Dog Tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Structure-infesting tick)

This tick is a particular threat to homes in South Carolina because it is able to live entirely inside a home. From egg to adult, the brown dog tick is right at home in the bedding of your pet, in your carpet, and in many other locations around your home.

While this tick is mostly a threat to pets due to its ability to spread canine ehrlichiosis and canine babesiosis, it can also be a threat to humans through the spread of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

If you're seeing ticks in your yard, or inside your home, reach out to the tick experts here at Aiken Pest Control. We'll be happy to walk you through the options that work best for eliminating ticks in your yard. Call us for immediate assistance.

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