Here in Texas, we have a lot of critters. Some big, some small, some dangerous and some just simply a nuisance. Many people are out-of-sight, out-of-mind type individuals, but some of those pests that simply slide right under our nose are in fact the most dangerous.
Most Common Species Of Ticks
Ticks are pests that won’t broadcast their presence, but they certainly present a real danger. They can do some major damage with only a tiny bite, which makes keeping a tick-free property extremely important. Let’s take a look at the common ticks we can find here in Texas.
American Dog Tick
The American dog tick, is a small, brown colored pest with a round body. Unfed, the females are the largest, coming in at 5mm in length. A male sizes up at about 3 mm and both have 8 legs with silver/gray colored markings on their back. Preferring grassy areas with low vegetation, the American dog tick congregates around the presence of animals. The scent of mammals brings ticks out and as those mammals pass the ticks latch on to feed. Though non-venomous, American dog ticks transfer bacteria through their bite and infect their host unknowingly. Associated with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, dog ticks are extremely dangerous.
Blacklegged Deer Tick
Often mistaken for the brown dog tick, blacklegged deer ticks are about half the size, coming in at about 3-5 mm in length. As nymphs, they have six legs, but the adult tick will grow to have eight. Flat in shape and a reddish brown color, once the blacklegged deer tick feeds it can grow to almost 10 mm long and take on a much darker color. You can find blacklegged deer ticks anywhere you can find whitetail deer which are their preference for feeding, however, deer ticks will accept other hosts such as mammals and humans. They sit upon the tips of vegetation and wait for their host to walk by to hitch a ride, from there, feeding on the blood of its host. While the bite from a blacklegged deer tick is relatively painless, these ticks are known carriers of Lyme disease, if you discover that a blacklegged deer tick has bitten you, seek medical treatment immediately.
Brown Dog Tick
At about an 1/8 inch long unfed, the brown dog tick has no real specific markings on it. It is usually a reddish brown color, and like the deer tick, will become a gray color after feeding and can potentially quadruple in size! More prominent in warmer, drier areas, the brown dog tick is unsurprisingly attracted to areas that have dogs. Found over the entire U.S., the brown dog tick is known to survive well both indoors and out and is dependent only on having a host. Generally latching onto only dogs, it is most often our furry friends that introduce the pests to our home, once inside females can lay thousands of eggs. Linked to diseases like canine ehrlichiosis, canine babesia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, they can make your dog extremely sick.
When you consider that they could literally be anywhere, getting rid of ticks can be pretty difficult without the help of a professional. Taking preventative measures can create a substantial reduction in ticks and put you, your family, and your pets up against much better odds. Some prevention tips for ticks include:
- Clean your home often, making sure to vacuum thoroughly
- Use flea and tick collars for pets
- Try and keep yards as clear of vegetation as possible and make sure that all existing vegetation is trimmed and neat
- Keep yards free of clutter and debris
- Use bug repellents when outdoors
- Always check for ticks thoroughly after being outside
Because ticks can be introduced through other pests like rodents, just because you are pet free it does not mean you are tick free. Here at Innovative Pest Control, our tick control programs are sure to get rid of ticks regardless of where you got them. Depending on your particular problem, our technicians have the ability to focus on both the inside and outside of your home, ensuring the reduction of ticks and the threats associated with them. Because ticks are introduced mainly through wild animals, we also offer tips on how to reduce wildlife intrusion onto your property, which will lessen the population of ticks in the area. Don’t let ticks get you down, and call us today to request your free inspection.