Know Your Ticks!

Ticks cannot jump or fly, but often climb grasses and shrubs in order to come in contact with people or animals walking by so they can attach themselves and feed on blood.

Ticks have the potential to transmit diseases such as Lyme disease. Most tick-borne diseases require the tick to be attached and feeding for several hours before the person gets infected. Tick bites are often painless at first and most people do not know they have been bitten so checking yourself and your pet for ticks immediately after being in an infested area is important.

Numerous species of ticks exist in the United States and worldwide, but not all species of ticks transmit disease. Seven of the most commonly found ticks in the United States are: The American Dog Tick, Blacklegged Tick, Brown Dog Tick, Gulf Coast Tick, Lone Star Tick, Rocky Mountain Wood Tick, and the Western Blacklegged Tick.

AMERICAN DOG TICK: americandog
American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) is found mostly in the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains. American Dog Ticks are normally a brown to reddish-brown color, with gray/silver markings. Although the American Dog Tick is most commonly found on dogs, it will also attack larger animals, such as livestock (including cattle and horses), and even humans. Adult American Dog Ticks can survive TWO YEARS without feeding!
An American Dog Tick develops from the egg stage, to the 6-legged larva, to the 8-legged nymph, and finally to an adult. The cycle requires a blood meal before each progression (from larva to nymph, from nymph to adult, and by the adult for egg production).
American Dog Ticks are most active from mid-April to early September. The American Dog Tick is the most commonly identified species for transmitting Rickettsia rickettsii (which causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, in humans), as well as Tularemia.

BLACKLEGGED TICK (Ixodes Scapularis): blacklegged
Often, more commonly known as the Deer Tick or Bear Tick, the Blacklegged Tick can be found widely distributed in the northeastern, and upper midwestern United States. Blacklegged Ticks live in wooded and brushy areas, and have an average lifespan of two to three years. Ticks need humidity to survive, however, a frost does not kill the Blacklegged Tick.

Blacklegged Ticks vary in appearance. Adult Blacklegged Ticks are about the size of a sesame seed; the hind of their bodies is reddish, with black dorsal markings. The males are slightly smaller than the females, and are solid dark brown. In the mid 1970’s, it was discovered that the Blacklegged Tick is the primary (and possibly the only) transmitter for Lyme disease.
(Rhipicephalus sanguineus): browndog
The Brown Dog Tick is found all over the United States; more commonly in warmer climates (Florida is known for its high population of Brown Dog Ticks). Brown Dog Ticks are small, red-brown in color (called the red dog tick in other parts of the world), and lacks any markings. They have an elongated body shape, and a hexagonal basis capituli.

Brown Dog Ticks usually feeds on dogs, but will also feed on other mammals (including rabbits, deer, domestic animals, and humans). A fully blood-fed Brown Dog Tick can lay up to 5000 eggs. Brown Dog Ticks are known for transmitting Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, Human Babesiosus, and Humanehrlichiosis.

(Amblyomma Maculatum): gulf
The Gulf Coast tick can be found in coastal areas of the United States along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico.

The larvae and nymphs feed on small rodents, and ground dwelling birds. The adults, mainly, feed on large mammal’s ears. Gulf Coast tick can transmit Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis (a form of spotted fever), and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, in humans, in the Southwestern United States.
(Amblyomma americanum): lonestar
The Lone Star Tick can be found from Texas, all the way up to Maine. Adult Lone Star Ticks have eight (8) legs, and the body is fused to a single region. Adults are about 1/3 inches long, before feeding, and up to ½ inches long engorged. Adult Lone Star Ticks are brown to tan; the female has a pronounced white dot, or “star”, in the center of her back. Males have scattered spots, or streaks around the margins of their bodies. Lone Star Ticks transmit Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Lyme Disease. Lone Star Ticks are very aggressive, and are known to move long distances in pursuit of their host. Their lifespan is about three years.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN WOOD TICK (Dermacentor andersoni): rocky
The Rocky Mountain Wood Tick is found in the Rocky Mountain States and Southwestern Canada. Rocky Mountain Wood Tick larvae and nymphs feed mainly on rodents (chipmunks, squirrels, etc), while the adults feed on cattle, deer, sheep, humans…etc.

Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks are brown in color, becoming grayish when engorged. As the tick engorges, the shield remains consistent in size and color, although it tilts forward to a more vertical position. Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks transmit the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, Colorado Tick Fever, and it also causes tick paralysis.

WESTERN BLACKLEGGED TICK (Ixodes pacificus): western
Western Blacklegged Ticks are found in, not only California and Western States along the coastline (and inland), but also in Canada.

Their larvae and nymphs feed on birds and small rodents, while adults feed on deer and other mammals. The Western Blacklegged Tick can transmit Lyme disease, and Anaplasmosis (infection of the white blood cells and/or blood platelets).