Ticks

What are ticks?

Ticks are small arachnids that live primarily outdoors and are related to spiders and scorpions. Ticks are parasitic pests that feed on the blood of people and animals; blood is their sole source of food and necessary for them to complete their life cycle. These small parasites are unable to fly or jump but rather move onto their hosts by crawling. They typically wait in a grassy area for a suitable host to come by and brush past them and then climb onto the passing animals. Ticks spend most of their lives on an animal host.

Ticks have four life stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. After the egg hatches, the tiny larva (about the size of a seed) finds and feeds on an appropriate host then falls off that host. The larva develops (molts) into a larger nymph. The nymph then finds and feeds on a new host, falls off, and then molts into an adult. The adult tick finds a final host to feed on; after feeding, the female falls from their host and lays her eggs in damp soil.

dog tick on skin

The most frequent tick species that people come across in their yards or while spending time in an outdoor area are dog ticks, deer ticks, lone star ticks, and American dog ticks. 

The main characteristics of ticks include:

  • An oval-shaped body that swells and expands in size after the tick consumes a blood meal

  • Nymphs have six legs, and adults have eight legs

  • The lack of both antennae and wings

  • Specialized mouthparts allow them to bite and bury their head into a host to feed

Are ticks dangerous?

Ticks are vectors of a wide variety of diseases; in fact, most view them as second only to mosquitoes as a health risk. Because they consume blood from a wide variety of hosts, they come into contact with a variety of diseases and can spread them through their saliva as they feed. Some of the diseases tick spread include:

  • Lyme disease

  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever

  • Tularemia

  • Ercholisis

  • Anaplasmosis

Ticks take several days to complete their feeding process. Feeding slowly and being able to remain unnoticed for long periods make these blood-sucking pests extremely efficient at spreading diseases. While not all ticks spread disease, avoiding contact with ticks is an important precaution. 

Why do I have a tick problem?

Ticks live outside in warm, humid areas. They are most problematic during the summer and fall seasons when their populations are at their highest. Since ticks spend most of their lives on the back of an animal host, they are most often introduced to different outdoor areas by wild animals and wandering pets.

Ticks also move into homes on the backs of rodents and other wild animals that move inside while nesting or searching for food. Ticks are not a huge concern inside our homes as most are unable to complete their life cycle indoors. However, they will take over our outdoor spaces and make it so you no longer feel comfortable in your own backyard.

Where will I find ticks?

tick up close on a leaf

Ticks live outside and lay eggs in a variety of places. They prefer dark, damp areas and heavy vegetation that provides them with moisture they need and protection from predators. Common places where ticks hide include:

  • Under leaf piles and woodpiles

  • In tall vegetation along wooded trails

  • Weeds and overgrown landscaping

  • In the soil under bushes, shrubs, and decks

Those ticks that do find their way inside after falling off a host hide behind baseboards, furniture, rugs, and upholstered furniture. 

Public places where you or your pets may come into contact ticks include parks, athletic fields, campgrounds, and veterinarian's offices.

How do I get rid of ticks?

At White Knight Pest Control, we understand that people don't want to share their yards with biting, disease-spreading ticks. We eliminate ticks and other pests through our annual service plans utilizing friendly pest control products and high-quality services. Our professionals take the time to build relationships with each of our customers, ensuring we're always working together to meet your unique pest control expectations. To learn more about how we can help keep your property tick-free all year round, call us today!

How can I prevent ticks in the future?

At White Knight Pest Control, we will help you prevent problems with ticks using our regular tick control treatments. In conjunction with our quality pest control services, the following prevention tips will help you keep ticks out of your Texas, Utah, Arizona, or Colorado home and yard!

  • Limit hiding spots: Remove leaf piles, excess woodpiles, and other debris from your yard. Keep the grass cut short. Trim back shrubs. Cut wooded areas back away from the perimeter of your yard. 

  • Protect your pets: Place all pets on a year-round tick control program under the guidance of a veterinarian. Regularly bathe and groom pets. After spending time outside, inspect pets for ticks before bringing them inside. 

  • Prevent rodents and wild animals: Eliminate food sources from your yard that could attract tick-covered rodents and wild animals. Keep lids on trash cans, remove bird feeders, and pick up pet food every evening.

  • Guard your yard: Place a fence around your yard to keep neighborhood pets and wild animals out. A fence will also help keep your pets in your yards and stop them from wandering around and coming into contact with ticks.

  • Personal protection: When walking on hiking trails, stay in the center of the path. Wear tick repellent, long sleeves, and pants when in wooded areas, fields, or tall grass.

 

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