Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner and as far as we’re concerned, that means the start of summer! We’re looking forward to warm, sunny days, family cookouts and lots of time outside. However, all that time spent outside exposes us to one of our least favorite eight-legged pests. No, not spiders. Ticks. That’s right, the start of summer also means the resurgence of ticks and all the nasty diseases they carry.
There are many different types of ticks in North America, but the species that are most common in Oklahoma are the Dog Tick, the Deer Tick (also known as the Black Legged Tick) and the Lone Star Tick. Each of these ticks looks slightly different, can be encountered in different habitats and carries different risks of disease, so we’ll go through each one separately.
The American Dog Tick is one of the most common and pesky types of ticks, and will bite anything from a squirrel to a human. These ticks primarily live in open, grassy fields with little tree-cover or along the edges of walkways and trails. They are most active from April to August, but it is good to take precautions against these ticks all year round as they can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia. These diseases are dangerous to humans, but can be particularly devastating to pets, including dogs, cats and horses. Females have brown bodies with a cream colored ring around their head (known as a scutum); males are brown and white spotted.
Deer Ticks/Black Legged Ticks
Deer Ticks are typically found in deciduous forests (forests with trees that lose their leaves in the winter and come back to life in spring). Adult female Deer Ticks have reddish-brown bodies with black legs, black suctums and a black ring around their scutum on their back; adult males are all black with a small white ring around the edge of their body. Nymphs have white bodies and legs, with a black spot on their backs. Adult Deer Ticks are active from October to May and nymphs are active from May to August, so you have to watch out for these ticks all year long as both the adults and nymphs will ready feed on humans and pets. These ticks are also capable of transmitting Lyme disease, Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis at either stage.
Lone Star Ticks
These are some of the most aggressive ticks out there and are known to bite humans at all stages, from larva up to adult. Nymphs and adults also carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Monocytic Ehrlichiosis and “Stari” borreliosis. Both are active from April to August, so it’s good to take precautions any time you’re outside in the warmer months. Adult females are a light brown with a large white dot on their back; adult males and nymphs are light brown with black splotches. These ticks generally reside in woodlands with thick undergrowth and lots of groundcover, like vines and shrubs.
Tick Prevention Tips
No matter where you are or what kind of tick you’re worried about, a few simple steps can help prevent being bitten:
- Always walk in the center of trails or paths and avoid walking through tall grasses and heavy brush.
- Use tick repellent with DEET and follow application instruction on the bottle.
- Wear long sleeves, long pants and close-toed shoes. Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks.
- Shower immediately after coming inside and do a full-body tick inspection, making sure to check places ticks like to hide like behind the knees and ears, in your hair, around your groin, etc.
- Put clothes in dryer and tumble dry on high heat for an hour. This will kill any ticks hiding on your clothing.
- Check your gear and any pets that were with you for ticks immediately.
- Call the tick elimination experts at Arrow Exterminators for more tips and advice about how to keep these pests off your property and away from your family.
We hope these tips help keep you tick free and help keep you and your family safe all summer long! If you’re having problems with pests in and around your home, or just want to talk to a professional about what your options are, give us a call or visit our website to get started on your free, no-obligation evaluation. We’ll create a custom pest control plan to get rid of all your pest problems in no time! You can also call our trained pest control experts at any time with questions about pest control methods or pest prevention techniques. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for more pest prevention tips and tricks.