Ticks are often mistaken for insects, but they are actually arachnids. Regarding tick identification, they are classified into two categories: soft ticks and hard ticks. Soft ticks often feed on bats and birds, while hard ticks feed on humans, pets and nuisance wildlife. Regardless, if you are dealing with an infestation, the removal of ticks from your property should be handled by a professional exterminator. A professional can help you in identifying the type of ticks you are dealing with and the safest and most efficient process for tick removal.
Also known as the wood tick, the American dog tick gets its name from the fact that adult ticks prefer to feed on domestic dogs, coupled with the tick species being found only in North America. The American dog tick is a member of the hard tick family, meaning that it possesses a hard exterior shield. American dog ticks are known to harbor bacteria responsible for causing diseases in humans such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is spread when they suck blood from their host. Exposure to these ticks is most likely to occur during spring and early summer.
What do American Dog Ticks Look Like?
Oval and flattened in shape, American dog ticks are brown with whitish to gray markings. As larvae, they have six legs while nymphs and adults have eight. These extremities allow them to effectively crawl through their environment, as well as animal fur and human hair. Depending on whether or not they have fed on host blood, American dog ticks can range in size from 5 mm to 15 mm.
Signs of an Infestation
If an American dog tick has bitten either a household member or a pet, you may have cause for concern. Additionally, properties with tall grass and outdoor pets are more likely to attract American dog ticks. Sightings, in places such as gardens and potted plants, signal a potential infestation, as these are common areas for females to lay their eggs.
If you are concerned about ticks on your property and have questions about tick removal, contact a pest professional. They will be able to inspect your home, confirm the type of tick and recommend a course of tick removal.