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What Do Ticks Look Like, and Where Do Ticks Live?

Living in the northeast means a few things. 

You're familiar with the Jersey Shore, delicious bagels, and Taylor ham. You've probably experienced at least one nor'easter. And you likely know the answer to the question, "what do ticks look like?"

Unfortunately, not all ticks look the same.

There are 800 different tick species throughout the world. The United States is home to 90 of those, though they're primarily found in 14 states located in the northeast and midwest.  

So how can you tell these different types of ticks apart to keep both your home and family safe?

Keep reading to find out.

What Do Ticks Look Like?

The 90 species of ticks found in the United States are divided into two broad categories -- hard and soft.

Hard ticks have a hard outer shield, also known as a black plate or scutum. Soft ticks have a more rounded body and lack a scutum.

The two most common types of ticks in the northeast are dog ticks and blacklegged ticks (deer ticks). Ticks look different at each stage of the lifecycle.

Eggs (which can total in the thousands) hatch into larvae known as seed ticks. They have no wings and six legs. Larvae attach to small animals like birds and mice. 

These larvae turn into nymphs after several days of feeding. Now, they can attach to larger hosts like deer, dogs, and humans. It's during this phase that most tick-borne diseases are transmitted. 

Nymphs and adult ticks have eight legs and can be black, brown, reddish-brown, yellowish, and grayish-white in color.

Where Do Ticks Come From?

Ticks are common in wooded and grassy areas and often make their way into residential yards and properties by traveling on host animals.

They're also common in humid, moist environments but can adapt to a variety of surroundings. Ticks tend to feed (known as a blood meal) on one host before moving onto another. In some cases, wood ticks, especially, will infiltrate a structure. 

Wood piles, sheds, and other outdoor structures can be a breeding ground for ticks.

Health Risks

The most common health risk associated with ticks is Lyme disease, but it's not the only one. Ticks can carry parasites, viruses, and other bacteria. 

Other common diseases include Rash Illness, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. All of these diseases are transmitted when a tick bites its host.

Ticks can easily attach to your clothes before making their way to warm, moist areas of the body including armpits and behind your knees.

Each disease carries its own set of health risks including headache, nausea, weakness, joint pain, and a localized or full-body rash. 

Preventing and Controlling Tick Populations

Protecting yourself against ticks takes a combination of outdoor maintenance, intervention, and prevention methods.

Cut back any overgrown vegetation or shrubs near the outside of your home or business. Create adequate distance between your property and any wooded areas or structures.

Tick repellent spray can help protect you when taking walks or working outdoors. Knowing the answer to "what do ticks look like?" can also help you act fast if you've been bitten. 

Viking's Yard Guard protects your property and its inhabitants from ticks. Exterminators will visit your home or business multiple times to look for and treat high-risk areas where ticks may live and breed.

Yard Guard can help eliminate ticks before they become a serious problem.

Contact the tick control experts at Viking Pest today for more information about our Yard Guard service or any of the other pest control services we offer. With over 40 years experience, Viking Pest is your best choice in pest control in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Topics: Ticks, yard guard