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What are ticks?
Contrary to popular belief, ticks aren’t insects. An insect has six legs and three body sections. Ticks are more closely related to spiders, which makes them arachnids. Ticks also have eight legs but no antennae. Their coloring varies from black to deep brown to red or yellow. Adults of both genders hover around an eighth of an inch in length.
Ticks reproduce sexually. In the case of many female ticks, they land on a host to mate with a male. After mating, she gorges on a blood meal, causing her to grow up to 600 times her unfed body weight. She then drops from the host to lay her eggs in a dark, damp spot. They can lay between 2,500 and 3,000 eggs at a time. Female ticks die after laying their eggs. These hatch after 2 to 13 weeks, depending on humidity and temperature.
A tick’s life cycle has four distinct phases ‒ egg, larva, nymph, and adult. They usually die within three years as a result of failing to find a new host.
Ticks are one of nature’s many parasites. Because they cannot fly or jump, they rely on an ambush strategy to score a meal. Ticks feed on mammals, birds, and even reptiles by sinking sharp, curved hooks into the skin of a host. Ticks can remain attached to their host for several days. Then, they move on and prepare for their next life phase.
Some of the most common tick varieties in Baltimore include:
Blacklegged Tick (Ixodes scapularis)
These are common in the Eastern United States. While they are most common in spring, summer, and fall, they show up any time temperatures are above freezing.
Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)
Brown dog ticks primarily feed on dogs but can occasionally be found on humans and other animals.
American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis)
Watch out for these ticks in spring and summer. They have a wide distribution east of the Rocky Mountains.
Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum)
Lone star ticks are aggressive and easily identified by the white dot on their back. Oddly, allergic reactions to red meat have been reported by some bitten by these ticks.
Are ticks dangerous?
Tick bites are small but can be very problematic. They tend to latch on to the back of your knees, inner thighs, underarms, and around the ears.
Transmission rates differ per disease and type of tick, but they can spread more than one disease at once. Diseases ticks can carry include:
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- Tick Paralysis
Common symptoms of tick-borne diseases include:
- Muscle or joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weakness of body
If you see a tick has latched onto a loved one or pet, use clean tweezers to remove it. Grasp as close to the skin as possible and pull straight up. If any parts of the tick remain in the skin, remove them as well. Then, clean the bite site with alcohol and wash your hands to limit infection risk.
Why do I have a tick problem?
Once a tick has its fill, it detaches itself from a host and finds a new location to quest. Questing is what ticks do to attach to an animal host. They perch on the tip of a blade of grass or other foliage, forelegs outstretched.
Ticks set up shop along well-traveled paths to increase their odds of success. While questing, they listen for vital signals such as movement, heat, and carbon dioxide.
Since all warm-blooded mammals give off these stimuli, man’s best defense measures are protective clothing, keeping a clean home and yard, and professional extermination services.
Where will I find ticks?
Unfortunately, ticks live on every continent, even Antarctica. That’s why it’s essential to know their favorite places to hide around your house.
While waiting for their next host, ticks lurk in moist and wooded areas with dense vegetation. Perform regular yard maintenance so tall grass, thick brush, and undisturbed areas on your lawn don’t develop. Powerwash patio furniture and allow it to dry completely.
Outdoor garbage bins are a big draw for animals that can carry ticks. Securing your trash and regularly taking it out makes your home a less attractive target. If there are fewer opportunities for ticks to feed, they become less of a hazard.
How do I get rid of ticks?
Sometimes, it’s best to leave things to the professionals. To remove ticks from your home, look for a pest control company with the experience, knowledge, and tools needed to remove the infestation.
Choose Phenom Pest Protection, a family-owned business committed to offering outstanding results. We offer customized treatments for your property’s specific needs. To learn more about our effective tick control services, contact Phenom Pest Protection today!
How can I prevent ticks in the future?
- Regularly mow your lawn
- Clean up leaves and branches
- Trim down any vegetation, specifically along transition areas, like where the trees meet your lawn or nearby fields
- Try to use mulch or gravel to build natural barriers bordering wooded areas
- Ensure that all outdoor garbage bins are tightly covered to prevent potential hosts from coming in search of food
- Contact a local pest control company for a professional tick treatment
- Protect your skin from exposure by wearing long sleeves and pants
- Do not wear dark-colored clothing, as they make ticks harder to spot
- Make sure to regularly vacuum and clean your home
- Use tick-repellent products/sprays
- Wear clothing treated with permethrin
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Phenom Pest Protection received an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars from 354 reviews.
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