Ticks

Ticks

Pest Library Entry:

Class= Arachnida

Subclass= Acari (Ticks & Mites)

Common Pest Species:

American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis)

Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)

Deer Tick aka Black Legged Tick (Ixodes scapularis)

Gulf Coast Tick (Amblyomma maculatum)

Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum)

Active Times: Day and Night

Characteristics (Appearance/Habitation/Etc.):

There are two tick types, hard tick and soft ticks. Hard ticks comprise most of the common pest species humans will encounter. Ticks have small darkish colored bodies, are flattened top to bottom, and have eight legs. They are closely related to the arachnids (spiders). Ticks are obligate external parasites, who require blood in order to develop through their life stages and then eventually reproduce. Ticks cannot jump or fly, but some like the hard ticks hang on to leaves and grasses with their front legs outreached to grab onto anything brushing by (Ex. Dog or Human).

Ticks are home to a wide variety of bacteria & viruses which can infect people and pets. They are generally a host specific species, which is why their common names for species include Deer Tick, American Dog Tick, and etc. The higher the density of its main host such as deer in an area, the higher number of ticks there are in that area which increases overall chances of human contact. Adult hard tick females are the most likely to bite humans, as blood meal is needed for reproduction. Some tick species feed on different hosts (2 host/3host species) for their life stages, while others primarily feed on one host during their entire development. There are 4 life stages: Egg, Larvae, Nymph, and Adult. ¾ of tick life stages can usually bite.

Ticks prefer humid and warm climates. They are seen the most during the Spring and Summer months. You will normally have encounters with ticks outside of the home. Be sure to wear long sleeved shirts, and pants when venturing into woodland or natural areas. Tick repellant is also very helpful. If you live in a more woody area, it is suggested to regularly check your animals for ticks, because they can bring them into your home.

Reproduction: Adult female ticks reproduce while feeding on the host as does the male.

An adult female tick can lay eggs by the thousands during lifetime, which can average a year. The eggs can be placed/dropped to the floor and then hatch, or will hatch on the first host to feed and then fall off as larvae (seed ticks) depending on the species.

Diet: Sanguivore (Drinker of Blood)

Diseases:

Lyme Disease

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Ehrlichiosis

Tularemia

Babeiosis

Tick Paralysis

Notes/Research Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/geographic_distribution.html

http://www.clemson.edu/cafls/departments/esps/factsheets/medvet/tick_borne_diseases_affecting_humans_in_the_southeastern_united_states_mv19.html

http://www.esd.ornl.gov/facilities/nerp/Ticks.pdf

<img src=”http://s.hswstatic.com/gif/tick-4.jpg” alt=”A hard tick lays her eggs.”/>

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