What do American dog ticks look like?
The American dog tick is a parasitic pest that feeds on the blood of people and animals, with its favorite host being the domestic dog. The adult American dog tick’s oval-shaped body is brownish in color with white or yellow markings. Females have marbled markings on the upper surface of the front part of their bodies. Males have marbled markings going across the entire upper surface of their bodies. Nymphs (young ticks) have 6 legs, while adults have 8 legs. Before consuming a blood meal, adults are about 3/16 of an inch in length. After feeding, their body becomes engorged with blood and grows larger in size (5/8th of an inch).
How do American dog ticks spread?
American dog ticks are wingless and do not jump. They move from place to place on the backs of their hosts. Ticks feed until they become engorged and fall off of their host. Then they hide in grasses and vegetation in backyards, parks, fields, along wooded paths, and alongside roads. When a new host happens by and brushes against them, they climb onto them, feed, and drop off at a new location.
Why are American dog ticks inside?
If you find an American dog tick inside your home, it was most likely brought inside on an article of clothing or a pet after spending time outside. Females lay their eggs in moist soil or under dense vegetation. These ticks are not able to breed indoors and therefore are not able to survive in an indoor environment for a significant period of time.
Are American dog ticks dangerous?
The American dog tick is considered dangerous because of its ability to spread diseases to animals and people. American dog ticks do not spread Lyme disease, but they are known to spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Tularemia. According to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, ticks in Maine are not known to carry either.
There are many different species of ticks found throughout Maine, many that do spread serious disease. 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 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.
American dog 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 plan, and offer recommendations on how to make your property less attractive to ticks and their hosts.
American dog tick prevention tips
In addition to partnering with a professional, we recommend the following prevention tips:
- Treat both indoor and outdoor pets with a preventative under the guidance of your vet.
- Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and closed-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.