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Tick Identification Guide

What are ticks?

Ticks are both ectoparasites and arachnids. These tiny arachnids are closely related to spiders and mites, and being ectoparasites means that they feed on the blood of their warm-blooded hosts by attaching themselves to the outside of their hosts. Depending on the ticks, they may have preferred hosts but usually feed on many warm-blooded animal hosts, including people.

Two of the most widespread species of ticks in our area are the American dog tick and the blacklegged tick.

American dog ticks are a large species of tick, and their bodies are a brownish color with whitish-gray or yellow marbled markings on them. As their name suggests, their preferred host is the domestic dog.

Blacklegged ticks are a small species of ticks. They are brownish-orange in color with distinctive darker black legs. They are also called "deer" ticks because their preferred host is the white-tailed deer.

Are ticks dangerous?

A tick bite can cause some redness and irritation, but the diseases they spread are the main cause of concern for ticks.

After ticks latch onto a person's skin, they bury their head into the skin, insert a tube-like structure, and begin feeding. Ticks feed over several days, and because they eat so slowly, they are very efficient at spreading diseases to both people and animals.

In our area, ticks can transmit the following diseases:

  • Lyme disease
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis

Why do I have a tick problem?

Ticks are outdoor pests that can become a problem in almost any outdoor space that provides access to animal hosts and dark, humid places to hide. Ticks can't fly or jump, so they move most effectively by traveling on the backs of their animal hosts. As their animal hosts move around searching for food, they introduce ticks into new areas, including our backyards. The more rodents and wild animals that visit your property, the more likely you will experience a recurring problem with ticks.

Where will I find ticks?

Most ticks can't survive indoors, and they are mainly a problem in our outdoor spaces.

When ticks are not traveling with and feeding on an animal host, they hide in damp, shady spots like tall grass, bushes, weeds, and other vegetation around fence lines, walkways, and porch steps. Ticks gain access to their hosts passively by climbing to the top of vegetation. When a person or animal eventually brushes past them, the ticks crawl onto their new host.

How do I get rid of ticks?

The safest way to control the number of ticks feeding and breeding in your Worcester-area yard is to partner with an experienced professional. At Encon, we treat our customers like family and work as a team to ensure we meet your pest control needs in Worcester, MA, and surrounding areas and your family is kept safe from ticks and the diseases they spread. To reduce your contact with ticks in your backyard, we have developed a tick treatment program that provides eight treatments performed three weeks apart from April through October. Using a product that is safe around kids and pets, we ensure that you once again enjoy your backyard without worrying about coming into contact with ticks.

Call us here at Encon today to learn more about guarding your Worcester, MA, and surrounding area property against ticks.

How can I prevent ticks in the future?

Reduce the chances of ticks making themselves at home on your property by following these tips:

  • Mow your lawn frequently; tall grass provides a place for ticks to wait for their animal hosts. 
  • Remove leaf litter and other yard debris from your yard. 
  • Make sure to cut back vegetation from walkways, steps, fences, and other high-traffic areas of your yard.
  • Don't encourage deer, raccoons, rodents, and other wildlife, to spend time on your property or near your home. Remove food sources that could attract them. Get rid of bird feeders, keep lids on trash cans, and pick up uneaten pet food.

Reach out to us today at Encon to learn more about our home pest control and commercial pest management solutions in Worcester, MA, and surrounding areas!

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