Are you dealing with some bug issues? Your guess is that those midgets are ticks, but you are not sure? Here is the right place to find out if you are dealing with blood-sucking buggers! Read this article and discover everything about ticks: you will learn to identify them, how do you get them & more.
In addition, we will offer you valuable advice to prevent tick infestation and bites. Knowledge is power! Let’s become powerful!
Types of Ticks
You need to learn about ticks because they are dangerous. Moreover, they are also numerous. You will probably not be surprised that there are HUNDREDS of tick species in the world. We are going to split them in just two categories, in order to better identify them. So you need to know there are hard ticks and soft ticks.
1. Hard Ticks:
They have shields. While a male shield completely covers its body, the female’s shield covers only a third of its body. This is why a male is able to ingest less blood than a female. Also, the head of a hard tick is smaller than its body.
2. Soft Ticks:
They are shield-less and oval-shaped. They are similar in aspect with raisins and have a rough skin. You can hardly distinguish between the mouth parts from its body.
Still, the real issue is that they carry lots of diseases, among them being the Lyme disease. In other words, if you deal with tick problems, don’t neglect it! You are exposed to a huge danger.
What Do Ticks Look Like
Many people think that ticks are insects. Actually they belong to another category- that of arachnids. More specifically, ticks belong to the mites group and are a relative of spiders.
Ticks have eight legs, just as spiders do (tick larvae have only 6 legs). Still, these midgets are frightening, as they are vampire-like: they suck their host’s blood. Auch! When unfed, a tick is flat and oval. They move by crawling up the host, so the good news is that ticks don’t jump. Phew! Oh, and they also don’t have wings, so they are not so difficult to avoid.
- Tick larvae aren’t larger than a grain of sand.
- In nimph stage, the size is almost that of a poppy seed.
- An adult female tick has the size about of a sesame seed (ca. 3mm).
- An adult male tick is smaller than a female, being about 2,5 mm.
- A fed adult tick can be almost double in size compared to an unfed fellow.
- When engorged, the female looks swollen and her size is similar to a small lima bean.
Ticks vary a lot in colours, depending on their type, gender and even stage of life-cycle. So, there are yellow, reddish-brown, brown, black and grayish-white ticks.
The colour of a tick changes when it eats (actually when it sucks blood) and becomes engorged.
Identification of 4 Most Common Types
- Can be found in wooded areas.
- Are the transmitters of Lyme disease.
- In all four stages of life they can bite, even humans.
- They usually feed on mice, when in larval and nymph stage.
- In the autumn, as adults, they feed on deer.
- They are the most encountered type.
- In larval and nymph stage, they feed on small animals (mice and birds).
- Adults feed on humans, but also on larger mammals as dogs or raccons.
- It can transmit tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
- They survive about 2 years without a host (food).
- Very agressive ticks
- They crawl for long distances searching for a host.
- They can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and other illnesses.
- They can mainly be found in woodlands.
- Their ideal hosts are rodents, deer, cattle, but they also pick humans and dogs as hosts.
- This is the most common type of tick that lives indoor in all life stages.
- We can found them in our homes.
- Even if they prefer to feed on dogs, they also bite and choose humans as hosts.
- At least, they are not transmitters of human diseases.
What Do They Look Like?
|Type of Ticks||Size||Colour|
|In larval and nimphal stage they can be bearily noticed on humans or pets because of their small size.|
They are tiny in general
Unfed adult females are about 6.35 mm
Fed females become bigger.
|As nymphs, they are brown or reddish|
Adults are reddish-brown
After feeding, the female can change its colour from yellow to gray or even darker brown, depending on how engorged it is.
|Larvae and nymphs are hard to spot because they are so tiny|
The adult female is about 6.35mm
Females grow in size when engorged
Males remain at the same size even when they are fed.
|As adults, they are tipically brown to reddish brown. Also, they have white and gray markings on their shields.|
|Larvae are just as tiny as a period from the end of a sentence (.)|
In nymph stage, they are 1.5-2 mm in length
Female adults are 4 to 6 mm, but after feeding they can expand up to 16mm
Male adults are 3-4 mm in length.
|You can distinguish adult females because they have a white dot on their brown back.|
Adult males have only some streaks on the upper edges of their intense brown body.
|They are only 1.5 to 3 mm long|
The male is smaller than the female adult
Fully fed females can be about 1 cm in length.
|The adult is reddish, brown coloured and have small pits on their back.|
Engorged female are grey-blue or olive coloured.
It is essential for you to understand ticks life cycle, if you want to protect yourself. Firstly, ticks go through four stages in their lyfe cycle:
- Egg: it all begins with an egg…
- Larva (seed tick): in this stage, ticks have only 6 legs. It looks very similar to the future adult it will become. It takes one to three weeks for the larva to molt and transform into a nymph.
- Nymph: now they have 8 legs, but are still not capable of reproduction
- Adult: eight-legged and capable of reproduction
Though, you also need to know that hard ticks and soft ticks have not exactly the same life-cycle. So, hard ticks need at least one year to complete their life-cycle. On the other hand, soft ticks can complete their life-cycle in a couple of months or the process may take years.
Signs of Tick Infestation and Bite
When you live near a wooded area or you are surrounded by bushes/trees, you should expect ticks “visiting” you. If you are aware of this issue, then check for this periodically. You should especially check your pets! The chances to encounter them are bigger in summer time, as ticks enjoy this season. This is because ticks love when it’s warm and moist outside. Here you can find some pieces of advice to spot a possible tick infestation or bite.
Infestation in Your house:
- A very first sign is when you notice the presence of a large number of ticks in your home.
- Another important sign is to find ticks on your pets, or even on you or your family.
- An alarm bell should ring for you, if you, your family or your pet get a tick-borne illness. The symptoms can be various, but they usually are:
- Chills or fever
Spot the Bite
- Slight swelling and a red bump is the first sign of dealing with a tick bite.
- In most cases, tick bites are unnoticeable because they don’t hurt. However, if you are allergic to them, the allergy will be unleashed.
- Ticks are somehow more special than other bugs. We can say this because they remain on their victim after they bite. The areas on your body ticks seem to prefer are the armpits, the groin and the scalp.
- The skin where the tick bites becomes irritated.
How Do You Get Them
The little blood-feeding parasites cannot jump or fly, still they reach you and your pets. Well, this is possible because they crawl up on tall grass and wait for a host. Ticks can sniff the host’s scent and attach on it at the right moment. So to say, they wait for you to come closer. When you touch the vegetation they stay on, ticks simply grab hold on your leg.
As for your pets, it happens the same thing. While they play or run through tall grass, ticks get attached to them. Then the pet brings them into your house and… you know the rest of this story. But let’s hope for the best! Find out below what kills them!
How to Kill Ticks
Now that we know our enemy better, we should also become capable of getting rid of it. Or we can simply learn you what kills them. Whatever the case you may prefer, we have solutions for both. You also need to know how to act when the tick is still on you. Let’s discover together!
1. If the tick is on you or your pet (meaning the tick feeds on you), you cannot simply kill it. Before this, you need to extract it:
- grab a pair of tweezers with fine rips and carefully grasp the tick’s head, if you can reach it.
- with gentle moves, pull the tick out, without twisting it (risk of breaking it off).
- thoroughly disinfect the skin
2. If you are dealing with tick infestation, then here are some chemical products that guarantee ticks’ death:
- Onslaught FastCap Spider and Scorpion Insecticide Pint Unknown: This is a top product, especially designed for garden use and rated with 5 stars on Amazon. You can buy it here.
- 36.8 % Permethrin SFR: Permethrin is one of the magical substances that have great results in killing ticks. If you are not afraid of using chemicals, you can find this product on Amazon. Just click here.
3. Not really keen on using chemicals? You want to keep your family and pets safe and we perfectly understand that. For this reason, we also recommend you some organic produtcs with very good results. It is true that these products may need to be applied more than once. Still, it is better to use them than classic chemicals. All can be purchased on Amazon.
- EcoSMART Home Pet Care Botanical Organic Carpet and Upholstery Flea and Tick Killer: This organic anti-tick product is perfectly safe around kids. Non-toxic and very efficient! Click here to buy it.
- EcoSMART Home Pet Care Botanical Yard and Kennel Flea and Tick Killer: This is the Yard and Kennel version of the previous product. Of course, you will also find it on Amazon
4. Psss! Do you want to hear the best trick to kill ticks for sure? Come close! So, the secret to kill’ em all is to… hire a pro! Yes, this is the truth. It may cost more, but at least a pro will get the job done for sure.
Speaking of money, the anti-tick treatments may have lower or higher prices. It depends a lot. Though, product prices start around $10. On the other hand, if you hire a pro, prices may vary more: $150-$300.
How to Prevent Them
We believe that it is better to be safe than sorry. This is why we offer you some advice to prevent any contact with ticks.
Advice for Humans
- Do a daily check-up and carefully examine you body.
- When going in tick-prone areas, wear adequate clothing and cover your legs. Moreover, there is a treatment you can apply on your clothes to repel ticks. Repel Permethrin Clothing & Gear Insect Repellent is a spray that binds to the fabric. You can buy this on Amazon, click here to find it out.
- Avoid bushy and woody areas and follow the trails only.
Advice about pets
- After being outdoors, check your pet.
- Use repellents as prevention method (collars, powders, sprays, natural ingredients as garlic or vinegar).
- Vaccinating your pet against Lyme disease is another good option.
Advice Regarding Your Yard:
- Keep the grass short.
- Maintain your yard as clean and clear as possible.
- Don’t let vegetation grow uncotrolled.
- Many studies show that poultry are a very efficient method of getting rid of ticks. Reportedly, chickens eat ticks.
- Prune the trees in your yard.
- Rake the leaves and remove any mowed grass.
- As ticks like to hide, remove anything they may use as a hiding-place.
Well, there is a lot of information here! In this article we met our enemy, found out its blind spots and all it remains to do is to act. Now you know all you need to know about ticks: you learnt to identify them, how do you get them and how to prevent them from getting close to you and your pets.