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Pests in Public Buildings and Private Residences: Ticks

A collection of resources regarding pests that infest public buildings and private residences.

All About Ticks

What are ticks? What do ticks look like?

Ticks are small arachnids. Ticks require blood meals to complete their complex life cycles. Ticks are scientifically classified as Arachnida (a classification that includes spiders). The fossil record suggests ticks have been around at least 90 million years. There are over 800 species of ticks throughout the world, but only two families of ticks, Ixodidae (hard ticks) and Argasidae (soft ticks), are known to transmit diseases or illness to humans. Hard ticks have a scutum, or hard plate, on their back while soft ticks do not.
 
From http://www.medicinenet.com/ticks/article.htm; accessed August 30, 2017.

Geographic Distribution of Ticks

Of the many different tick species found throughout the world, only a select few bite and transmit disease to humans. These maps provide general insight into the expected distribution these human-biting ticks in the contiguous United States. Populations of ticks may be found outside noted areas. Naturally occurring populations of the ticks described below do not occur in Alaska; however, the brown dog tick is endemic in Hawaii.
Note that adult ticks are the easiest to identify and male and female ticks of the same species may look different. Nymphal and larval ticks are very small and may be difficult to identify.
 

Tick-Borne Diseases

Tick-borne pathogens can be passed to humans by the bite of infected ticks. Ticks can be infected with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Some of the most common tick-borne diseases in the United States include: Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, and tularemia. Other tick-borne diseases in the United States include: Colorado tick fever, Powassan encephalitis, and Q fever. Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in the United States. In 2010, more than 22,500 confirmed and 7,500 probable cases of Lyme disease were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Outdoor workers are at risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases if they work at sites with ticks. Worksites with woods, bushes, high grass, or leaf litter are likely to have more ticks. Outdoor workers in most regions of the United States should be extra careful to protect themselves in the spring, summer, and fall when ticks are most active. Ticks may be active all year in some regions with warmer weather.
 
From https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/tick-borne/; accessed August 30, 2017.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.  Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.
 
From https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html; accessed August 30, 2017.

Tick Bites

Tick Bites: Symptoms and Treatment
 
Tick bites are usually harmless and may produce no symptoms. However, if you’re allergic to tick bites, you may experience:
Some ticks carry diseases, which can be passed on when they bite. Tick-borne diseases can cause a variety of symptoms and usually develop within several days to a few weeks after a tick bite. Potential symptoms of tick-borne diseases include:
Be sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible if bitten by a tick in order to be evaluated for any potential treatment.
 

How to Get Rid of Ticks in 6 Easy Ways

How To Get Rid of Ticks in 6 Easy Ways

 

  1. Clear out
  2. Clean debris
  3. Choose plants that don't attract deer
  4. Check Tick Hiding Places
  5. Care for Your Pets
  6. Call the Pros

How to Remove Ticks from Pets

How to Remove Ticks from Pets Step-by-Step
 
Ticks can transmit deadly diseases to a pet within 24 hours of a bite, so swift removal is key.
Here’s the best way to remove a tick from your dog or cat so you’re prepared to get rid of these dangerous parasites.
Before you start the actual removal process, gather everything that you need to remove the offending tick from your pet first. It's harder to try and manage a squirming animal while looking for your tweezers or rubbing alcohol than it is having everything you need within arm's reach.