The Deer Tick: What You Should Know

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Deer Ticks: Everything You Need to Know

Some insects are more problematic than others. When it comes to ticks, though, just thinking about them can give you the creeps. It’s not just that they feed on your blood: they also carry and spread dangerous diseases.


While most ticks are actually free of infectious diseases, deer ticks are specifically known to carry Lyme disease. But before you can achieve deer tick control- whether that means avoiding them while hiking, or controlling their population around your home - you have to know what you’re dealing with.

If you’re looking to learn more about deer ticks, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about deer ticks.

Deer Tick Characteristics

Deer ticks are quite small. Even compared to a relatively small dog tick, the blacklegged tick (another name for the deer tick) is incredibly tiny. Adult female deer ticks have reddish bodies in their adult stage, but distinguishing their color when they’re in their larva or nymph stage is incredibly difficult. If you’ve been bitten by what looks like a very small tick, there’s a chance that it’s a deer tick.


Deer Tick Habitat

Unsurprisingly, deer ticks can be found in the same places that deer are commonly found. This means both open, grassy areas as well as woodlands. While deer ticks are encountered year-round so long as temperatures are above freezing, they tend to be the most active during the summer months.

Diseases Associated with Deer Ticks

Deer ticks can carry Lyme disease, a serious disease that humans are capable of contracting. However, only about 50% of deer ticks actually carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and only adult females and nymphs are capable of transmitting the disease when biting.

In addition to Lyme disease, though, there are a number of other diseases that deer ticks are capable of carrying and spreading. These include:

  • Babesiosis, a parasitic infection that results in the destruction of red blood cells
  • Anaplasmosis, a bacterial infection that can lead to headache, nausea, fever, renal failure, hemorrhage, and even death
  • Powassan virus, which can lead to neurological damage and may potentially be fatal
  • Ehrlichiosis, a flu-like bacterial infection

Once you’ve been bitten, it can take up 48 hours for a tick to transmit Lyme disease. However, other diseases can be transmitted much more quickly. This is one reason why it’s important to remove any ticks that you find on your body immediately.

How to Prevent Deer Ticks

Considering the potentially dangerous diseases that deer ticks can carry, it’s important to take some precautions in order to minimize the likelihood of being bitten or contracting an illness.

First off, be sure to cover your body to reduce bare skin exposure. This means wearing long sleeves, long pants, and a hat with a wide brim. It’s also a good idea to tuck your pants into your socks or boots in particularly densely wooded areas.

Next, consider wearing a tick-specific insect repellent. This is especially important to do if you’re going to be spending time in an area with lots of ticks.

Take the time to check yourself for ticks both during and immediately following exposure to a tick infested area (unless checking yourself mid-hike would mean exposing your skin while in dense woods or tall grass, of course). Be thorough, and make sure you’re checking every part of your body.

Remove any ticks that you find right away, and be sure to do it correctly. With a pair of fine-point tweezers, grasp the tick as close to where it meets your skin as possible, and then very gently pull it out without twisting or jerking. Using too much force can crush or break the tick, which could mean exposure to disease-causing agents.


Deer Tick Control

While taking the correct preventative measures on your own is important, a deer tick infestation near your home will require the help of a professional tick pest control service. If there is a high concentration of deer ticks in the vicinity of your home, contact Home Pest Control. Our knowledgeable team of professionals will take the necessary steps to control the tick population on your property, effectively reducing your risk of a potential bite. Call us today to learn more!

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July 26, 2018

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