With a name like ‘Tick’, these little guys don’t have it easy - for good reason. Ticks are blood-feeding ectoparasites (a big way to say they attach to the outside of their hosts) capable of transmitting species-specific pathogens to people, dogs and possibly cats. Ahem, yikes. And some even specialize. For example, while Brown Dog Ticks will bite people, they earned their name because they are attracted to dogs and spread canine ehrlichiosis and babesiosis (e.g. Rocky Mountain spotted fever). Double yikes.
At this point, you have to be asking, “Hey Sunday! Any silver lining here?” We’re getting there! Let’s get you up to speed on how to recognize ticks, where they live, how to proactively manage for them, and, for when you need a little extra help, how to repel and remove them using plant-derived Sunday pest control.
It may seem daunting to know all these ticks are out there, but getting familiar with them is the first step to Sunday’s integrated pest management approach. Plus, accurate identification is essential to understand biology, breeding requirements, and the location of the infestation. Bonus? As long as you remove ticks in time, they can be quite harmless!
Most adult ticks and nymphs have eight legs, whereas larvae (the stage that hatches from the egg) only have six. Adults are usually less than 1/8 inch long. Need to identify a common or more rare tick in your neck of the woods? Here is an excellent tick identification resource, or check out our quick tick ID checklist below.
So, what are the most common tick species?
Good question. We’ve compiled a top four list of need-to-know ticks. Why? These ticks are the most prevalent in the US and can carry the more troublesome pathogens for pests and humans.
Blacklegged tick – Ixodes scapularis
Sunday Funday Fact: What’s a scutum? It’s just a fancy word for the hard section behind a tick’s head.
Lone star tick – Amblyomma americanum
American dog tick – Dermacentor variabilis
Brown dog Tick – Rhipicephalus sanguineus
P.S. Unsure if what you’re looking at is really one of the ticks above? Here’s some common lookalikes:
And don’t forget, these ticks above can also be confused with other ticks and sometimes fleas too!
Many ticks found in the US can be active all year round if temperatures remain above freezing. This even includes days when the ambient temperature is below freezing, but the sun warms up patches of ground where ticks are present. In short, every season is a tick season. Ah, now isn’t that a lovely thought.
Lucky for some of us, though, some ticks are a bit more particular when it comes to location and temperature. Some ticks like brown dog ticks are really only found in warmer climates.
While most ticks are found nationwide, many species are differentiated by their region and preferred habitat. Regardless of species, most ticks are able to live in natural lands, near homes or backyards, or even inside. Below are some ways ticks can get near your home:
And finally, but probably the least favorite, certain ticks (e.g. the brown dog tick) can live in your home or near pet areas if you or your pets have walked through tick-infested areas outside.
Sunday ProTip: always complete a tick check on you and your pets after being outdoors to prevent ticks from entering the home and attaching to a host!
At Sunday, we’re here to help keep you, your family and your furry friends tick-free (and worry free too!) this summer. Whether you don’t mind ticks that much or you’re constantly worried about them – there are a few ways you can avoid encounters and deter ticks from entering your home and yard.
Tick Check 101
Sunday ProTip: If you do find a tick – don’t worry. Use pointy tweezers to remove (no fingers for this step!) and pull straight out without twisting. Seal the tick in a container marked with the date, and turn it in to your vet or local extension office, where they can test for pathogens. Clean the area of the tick attachment with soap and water.
Sunday’s NixTix is a cedarwood oil yard control spray to kill and repel ticks (among other pests) on contact and for sustained periods of time. Here’s how it works:
Sunday Application Tips:
New York State Integrated Pest Management. Ticks. Cornell University.
CDC. Regions where ticks live | Ticks. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Pest Management University. Best Management Practices For Brown Dog Ticks. University of Florida.
New York State Integrated Pest Management. Monitor for Ticks in Your Own Backyard. Cornell University.
TickEncounter Resource Center. Tick Identification Guide. University of Rhode Island.
American Forests. Tick Checking 101: Steps to Take For Every Hike.