Pest Guide for Ticks
Ticks are not only one of the most undetectable pests, but also one of the most dangerous, as they can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, Tularemia, and Ehrlichiosis. Like fleas, ticks feed on the blood of human and animal hosts, however, their bites don’t usually itch, making them difficult to detect.
Ticks are small (ranging in size from about 8mm – 10mm, depending on whether they’ve recently fed) and they’re actually part of the spider family, not the insect family. They tend to reside in grassy, brushy areas; they climb up the foliage and wait for a host to pass by. When one brushes against the foliage, the tick can hop on and begin feeding. This is why many animals and humans pick ticks up while hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting.
What to Look For
If you live near a wooded area or have recently been in a wooded area, check yourself frequently for ticks. Look for small reddish brown bugs with six legs. If they’re not filled with blood yet, they may appear flat, but if they are, they’ll be more rounded. Ticks are usually found on areas of the body that are exposed, so check your ankles, legs, arms, and neck. Also comb through your hair and look for them there.
If You Find a Tick
If you do find a tick, there are several ways that you can remove it. One of the most effective ways is to get a pair of fine-tipped tweezers and grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible and pull straight out. Make sure not to grasp it around the body – you could end up squeezing it and pushing infected fluids back into your body.
Another way to remove a tick is by using liquid dish soap. Squirt some dish soap onto a cotton ball and place over the tick. Move it back and forth gently for a few moments, then pull the cotton ball away. The tick should be on the cotton ball. This method tends to be favored over the tweezer method because the tweezer method could potentially leave parts of the tick behind.
If you remove a tick from your body, pay close attention to that area for the next week or two. If you notice any reddening or ring-like rash, see a doctor immediately, as this is a sign of Lyme disease.