Ticks are actually tiny arachnids, having more in common with spiders than insects. These parasites feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and occasionally reptiles and amphibians. They have been around for millions of years and are widely distributed around the world, especially in humid climates.
Which species of ticks are prevalent in Georgia?
There are several common species of ticks in Georgia and Tennessee:
Adult female black-legged ticks grow to about 1/8 of an inch in length. The males are smaller and grow to be about 1/16 of an inch. Before feeding, black-legged ticks are oval in shape and brownish-orange in color. Their legs are darker than the rest of their body. After feeding, they become larger in size and more of a rust brown color.
Lone Star tick
Lone Star ticks are about 1/8 of an inch in length and brown in color. After feeding, they become more slate-gray in color. The females have a white spot in the middle of their backs.
American dog tick
The American dog tick is reddish brown in color with white or yellow markings; males are about 1/8 of an inch in length and females are a little larger. They can grow up to ½ inch in length when engorged with blood.
Why do ticks bite?
Ticks are parasitic insects that bite their host in order to feed on their blood. While certain species have preferred hosts, most ticks will feed on a variety of animals including dogs, cats, birds, livestock, deer, raccoons, and rodents, along with humans. Ticks find their host by detecting their body heat and exhaled carbon dioxide. They generally will feed for several days until they are engorged and fall off the host onto the ground.
Are ticks dangerous?
Yes, ticks are a dangerous pest. They carry and spread a various number of serious diseases to humans. These diseases may include:
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Where do ticks hide?
Ticks require moisture to survive, and so they prefer to live in areas of high humidity. Ticks can often be found hiding in areas of dense vegetation, high grasses, and along the edges of wooded areas where there are high populations of deer and other hosts.
What should I do if I find a tick?
After spending time in or near a heavily forested area, it’s always a good idea to conduct a quick inspection of your clothing and hair, and your pets’ fur. Because ticks are so small, it can be difficult to feel them crawling on your skin. If you spot one, remove it right away before it has a chance to hide or bite you.
If you find a tick that has already begun feeding on you or your pet, you must be careful when attempting to remove it. Simply crushing or yanking on the tick may release any disease-carrying fluids that may be inside it. Instead, use a pair of tweezers to grasp behind the tick’s head and slowly pull it away from the skin. You need to be certain that its mouthparts are completely removed, and the wound should be thoroughly washed and disinfected.
Can I get rid of ticks completely?
You cannot completely eradicate ticks from your property since they are generally introduced onto your property by wild animals. There are however, some things you can do to help limit their numbers.
Make sure that your lawn is mowed short, do not over-water it, and trim back wooded areas from your property. It can also be helpful to take down bird feeders because they attract wildlife. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and closed-toed shoes when spending time outdoors; it is also important to treat your cats and/or dogs with tick-preventative medicines and to schedule regular health inspections with their veterinarian.
Professional Tick Abatement from Allgood Pest Solutions
Along with taking precautions around your home, getting help from professionals through tick abatement programs will help to greatly reduce the amount of ticks on your property. For more information about these dangerous pests and how Allgood Pest Solutions can help to limit the number of ticks near your home or business, contact us today!