Summer is a time of year when many people and their pets spend time outdoors. Ticks are one of the hazards of spending time outdoors. Knowing what a tick is, how to identify a tick and how to avoid ticks can help you take care of yourself.

What Is a Tick?

A tick is a parasitic arachnid. Ticks vary in size depending on their age. The younger ones are the size of a poppy seed, older ones are the size of an apple seed. Adult ticks have eight legs and a tear-shaped body. Ticks are found in tall grasses, especially near fields and at the edge of wooded areas.

What Are the Feeding Habits of Ticks?

Ticks drink blood from their host. They can bite at any time of year, but they’re most active in summer when the nymphs are abundant. They attach themselves to mammals that walk through tall grasses, then feed by inserting their head into the mammal’s skin.

After attaching itself to a person, a tick will walk around the person’s body in search for a suitable location. After finding the right spot, the tick will insert its head into the skin of the person. This process of looking for a place and then beginning to feed can take multiple hours.

A tick can feed on one person for 36 to 48 hours or more. The best way to tell how long a tick has been on the body of a person is by observing the tick’s size. Ticks can gain 120 times their normal weight by ingesting several millimeters of blood at one time. The bigger the tick, the longer it’s been on the body.

Do Ticks Spread Diseases?

Yes, ticks spread diseases. The most well-known disease that ticks can spread is Lyme disease, but ticks carry many diseases. One tick can carry as much as three disease-causing bacteria at one time.

Different types of ticks tend to spread different types of diseases. However, ticks do not begin the transmission of diseases immediately upon biting. In fact, a tick that has been feeding for less than eight hours is unlikely to have transmitted any diseases. A tick that has been on the body for less than 24 hours is unlikely to spread Lyme disease — many ticks don’t infect their host with Lyme disease until they’ve been feeding for 36 to 48 hours.

How Can You and Your Pets Avoid Tick Bites?

People can avoid tick bites by wearing long pants and tucking their pant legs into their socks while walking through tall grass. Ticks are most common near wooded areas populated with deer, so anyone who lives near one such area may find ticks on their property.

Pets are vulnerable to ticks, so the best way to prevent pets from ticks is to prevent ticks from infesting your property. Make sure you cut your grass regularly and clear away brush and yard waste as soon as it’s been cut down. If you live in a high-risk area or have seen ticks on your property before, surround your property with a three-foot-wide path of mulch or gravel to prevent ticks from entering your lawn.

Can Pest Control Services Control Ticks on Your Property?

Yes, pest control can spray a lawn for ticks. If you’re a property owner and you have ticks on your property, contact a reputable pest control company in your area to have your property sprayed for ticks.

If you have more questions about ticks, contact a reputable pest control company in your area. At Environmental Services Pest Control, LLC, we strive to answer all homeowner questions about ticks and other pests. For more information, contact us today.