What Do Blacklegged Deer Ticks Look Like?
Blacklegged deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) have a flat body with eight legs as adults and nymphs, while the larval stage has six legs. Blacklegged ticks are commonly mistaken for brown dog ticks as they look similar although in most cases, the deer tick is half the size of the American dog tick. Female adult blacklegged deer ticks are about 3 to 5 millimeters long and are a reddish-brown color until they feed, and then they become engorged up to 10 millimeters long and appear darker in coloring. Male adult deer ticks are smaller than females and maintain their brown coloring. The nymphs are 1 to 2 millimeters in length and larvae are less than 1-millimeter long.
Where Are Deer Ticks Found?
Deer ticks are found in any location where the white-tailed deer is found, their preferred host, although ticks will latch on to pretty much any animal or human to feed. They are found in most of the eastern United States in wooded areas. They're often hanging out on the tips of grass or leaves, so as an unsuspecting host walks by they can crawl right onto their fur or skin.
In your home, they can be found anywhere if they hitched a ride in on the dog or a person. They may fall off if they haven't become embedded in the skin yet. American dog ticks can reproduce and lay eggs indoors but it is uncommon, if not impossible, for a blacklegged deer tick to do so.
What Do Deer Ticks Eat?
Larval and nymphal deer ticks prefer small hosts and are more likely to feed on rodents than on large animals. Adults are fond of white-tailed deer and sometimes also feed on humans as well as domesticated pets like dogs and cats as hosts.
Are Deer Ticks Dangerous?
Most victims of blacklegged tick bites do not know they have been bitten until after they experience symptoms. The bite is painless for most. The most common insect-transmitted disease in the U.S. is Lyme, which is carried by blacklegged ticks. There are over 20,000 cases of Lyme each year, mostly in the upper Midwest and northeastern states, but Texas reports dozens of Lyme disease cases annually, so these ticks are here and able to spread Lyme.
Does Innovative Pest Control Offer Relief For Deer Ticks?
Innovative Pest Control provides treatment for ticks. If you believe you have a tick problem in your home or need help reducing the tick population outdoors, call us for a consultation. To get started with our effective flea and tick control program, partner with the East Texas pest control experts at IPC!
Blacklegged Deer Tick Prevention Tips
Preventing deer ticks is difficult, but you can reduce the tick population with the following do-it-yourself methods:
- Mow your lawn frequently.
- Remove leaves that fall to the ground.
- If your property borders a wooded area, place a three-foot wide barrier of gravel between the lawn and wooded area to reduce tick migration.
- Check yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors and remove any ticks found; often, you can find and dispose of them before they bite.