The Fascinating Life of The Blood Sucking Deer Tick (and What You Can Do to Stop Them)

As spring begins to hit its stride, the news stories about ticks are virtually inevitable. After all, people are finally leaving their homes and the cold of winter behind and heading outside again, and thanks to the warmer weather, the ticks are really starting to get active. For people looking for that warm sunshine and fresh air, tick bites can mean only one thing – the very real potential for danger. While there are many different species of ticks globally, the deer tick is one that can do serious damage. Unlike some other species, they can transmit Lyme Disease.

Black deer tickDeer ticks live throughout the central and eastern United States. They can live almost anywhere deer or rodents are present. They’re pretty tiny, just the size of a sesame seed, and they have a red colored body with black markings. They live for approximately two years, and during that time, they feed only three times. They contract bacteria that can cause Lyme Disease when they feed on an infected host, but they can only transmit that bacteria during the second or third feeding. What’s more, though, is that they have to be attached for at least 24 hours to transmit the bacteria. Adults are most active during the spring and fall season.

The Life Cycle

A tick begins life as larvae. They hatch in the late summer and reach peak activity levels in August. They’re as tiny as a period on a newspaper, and they will sit on the ground, waiting for small mammals to brush up against them. They begin feeding over a period of days, engorge themselves, then drop off the hosts and molt into nymphs. They’ll remain inactive until spring. Once spring hits, they attach to another host, then feed for four to five days. The hosts at this point can either be animal or human. The nymphs are the size of a poppyseed, though, so they tend to remain unnoticed. The adult stage begins after that second feeding. They look for a new host in the fall, and if they don’t find one, they take cover under vegetation, and remain inactive until March or April. They take one final meal, then mate. Females can lay 3,000 eggs, and once that’s complete, they die immediately, with the eggs hatching later that summer.

Protect Yourself

The single best things you can do is to protect yourself during the height of tick season. If you plan to be out where ticks might be a problem, where long pants and a long sleeved shirt. Check your body for ticks when you come back inside. If you have a large piece of property, mow, trim, and keep the weeds in check.

If you still have problems with ticks on your property, contact a pest control professional today. There are good ways to take care of the problem, and professional teams can help. From making the right recommendations to using the perfect combination of tools and resources to help eliminate the ticks on your property and keep them off of you and your family this year.

 

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