Deer Ticks

Deer Ticks Identification

What do deer ticks look like?

Deer ticks are parasitic pests that feed on the blood of their hosts.  Before feeding adult female deer ticks are about 1/8 of an inch in length.  Males are smaller than the females at about 1/6th of an inch in length.  Before feeding deer ticks are oval in shape and are an orange-brown color and their legs are dark brown.  After having a blood meal deer ticks will increase in size and turn a more rust brown color.  These ticks have sharp mouthparts that they use to pierce the skin of their host.  The mouthparts can be seen when the tick is viewed from above.

How do deer ticks spread?

Deer ticks cannot fly or jump so they move from place to place on the bodies of their blood meal host that they are attached to.  After a deer tick feeds on its host for several days they become engorged and fall off.  Then they hide in tall grasses and areas of thick vegetation until a new host happens by and brushes up against them and they climb aboard and attach themselves to the new host and begin the cycle over again.

Why are deer ticks inside?

Deer ticks are typically found outside but can be accidentally brought inside of homes.  They generally come in on the bodies of pets like cats and dogs that spend time outside.  They can also come in on people's clothing after they have spent time in places that often have ticks; tall grass, wooded areas, hiking trails, or along the edges of ponds or lakes.

Are deer ticks dangerous?

Yes, this type of tick is very dangerous.  They carry and spread dangerous and debilitating diseases through their saliva.  Deer ticks are most commonly associated with the spread of Lyme disease.

Deer ticks and Lyme disease.

Deer ticks in Maine have the potential to carry and transmit Lyme disease, though not all ticks are infected with the disease.  The first symptoms of Lyme disease can imitate those of the flu- fever, aches, facial paralysis, general pain.  It is very important to remember that this is a very serious disease and it can become quite debilitating over time if treatment is not sought. 

Another common and early sign of Lyme disease is a distinctive bulls-eye rash that becomes present in one area or several areas of the body.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the rash (Erythema migrans) generally appears in 70-80% percent of people infected with Lyme disease.  It develops 3-30 days after a person becomes infected, with the average being about seven days post infection.   

Lyme disease is caused by the corkscrew-shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.  An infected deer tick can easily transmit this disease to each host that it feeds on and thus quickly spreading the disease throughout an area.  A deer tick needs to be attached for at least 24 hours before Lyme disease can be spread.  If left untreated Lyme disease can lead to complications with the heart and nervous system, along with joint swelling and the erosion of cartilage and bone.

If you find a tick attached to you, a loved one or your pet you should use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, to grasp the tick as close to the skin of the animal as possible, and gently but firmly pull it off. You can save the tick in rubbing alcohol to bring to your doctor or veterinarian to have it correctly identified.

Deer tick control

Professional tick control is an effective way of reducing tick populations on your property.  When you choose Pine State Pest Solutions, our team will inspect your property, customize a treatment and offer recommendations on how to make your property less attractive to ticks and their hosts. 

Deer tick prevention tips

  • Along with professional tick control, we recommend implementing the following deer tick prevention tips:

  • Treat both indoor and outdoor pets with a preventative under the guidance of your vet.

  • Do not set picnic tables or swing sets under trees where ticks might drop from.

  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and close-toed shoes when spending time in areas where ticks are prevalent.

  •  Inspect yourself, family members and pets before coming inside.

  •  Keep your lawn cut short and reduce tall grass and dense overgrowth on your property.

  •  Try to limit the amount of deer, rodents and other wildlife on your property by reducing food sources and other attractants.