There are 90 species of ticks in the United States, and five of them can be found in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. These include the brown dog tick, blacklegged/deer tick, groundhog tick, lone star tick, and American dog tick.
While ticks have a place in the ecological world by helping to control various animal populations, humans and other animals are their only sources of food.
Ticks found in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area are shades of red to brown, species dependent. Adults can range from 1/8” to 3/16” and they have eight legs, which remain close to the body while they are not moving. They have an oval shape, no wings, and no antennae. Due to their eight leg physiology, they are actually arachnids (like spiders), and not insects.
Ticks are parasitic mites which mean they need the blood of reptiles, birds, and mammals (which include humans, dogs, cats, mice, etc.) to survive. Ticks must ingest blood during every stage of their life cycle to survive.
Ticks live in wooded areas, and wait for mammals, birds, or reptiles to pass by so they can latch onto them for food. They also thrive in brushy fields, in gardens, lawns, parks, pastures, etc. If conditions are suitable, ticks can also infest an office or home environment
PROBLEMS WITH TICKS
Ticks bite for their survival. They find a host and feed off the blood of the host, and in some cases, can transmit serious disease. A tick attached to its host will secrete saliva that is laced with anesthetic properties, making it nearly impossible for the host to detect its presence. If the tick settles onto a location of the body that largely goes unnoticed, such as the back of the thigh, it might feed indefinitely.
Ticks are able to locate their human and other hosts by detecting body odor, breath, body heat, vibrations, shadows, and moisture. Ticks determine the most used animal pathways and perform something that is called questing (they lie in wait) for a host to pass by. Even though ticks do not fly or jump, they are able to determine an advantageous position on grass tips and shrubs to clamp on to the host. In this way, they can be considered aggressive toward humans and other animals.
Infected ticks can spread disease to humans. After mosquitoes, they are the most common organisms for spreading vector-borne disease, posing a serious threat to humans and other animals like dogs, cats, and deer. Signs of infection will start to occur weeks after the original tick bite. Some of the many tick-related illnesses that humans can contract include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme Disease, Tularemia, Colorado Tick Fever, Powassan Disease, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, Tickborne Relapsing Fever, and others.
Lyme disease is of particular concern to humans, especially for people living in the Pennsylvania area. Pennsylvania continues to lead the country with more cases of Lyme disease than in any other state. Also, recently, the DEP reported that the blacklegged deer tick has been spotted in every county in Pennsylvania.
SIGNS OF A TICK INFESTATION
Although, ticks generally make their homes outside in grassy or wooded areas, if the conditions are right, they will create a nest or burrow inside a home. For this, a female tick must have a blood meal before finding her way inside, and she also must find a remote location to lay her eggs. Some female ticks can lay up to 5,000 eggs.
Similar to bed bugs, ticks are able to hide in locations that make them virtually undetectable such as along baseboards, beneath carpeting, in the seams of upholstered furniture, around doors and windows, etc.
While most ticks will find a host like a deer, rabbit, dog or cat, and make the animal their home for quite some time, ticks have been known to migrate indoors, making it necessary to call a professional pest control provider for effective detection and eradication.
• Thoroughly inspect clothing before going inside after walks in the park, hiking, camping, etc.
• Seal cracks around windows and doors to prevent tick migration inside.
• Thoroughly inspect pets, regardless of whether they go outside or not, since a tick infestation can take place inside the home, as well.
• Routinely inspect any pet bedding or linens/upholstery that the pet uses.
• Always keep pets off of furniture to prevent existing ticks from settling onto sofas and chairs.
• Make sure that all wood piles do not butt up against the building or other structures.
• Get rid of weeds and brush in the area to deter ticks from settling inside.
• Always keep trash cans covered.
• Make sure that children’s toys and outdoor furniture are a good distance from wooded areas.
• Mow lawns on a regular basis.
• Remove plant beds that exist near the building
PREVENTING TICK BITES
Strategies exist to help prevent tick bites when venturing outside, these include:
• To keep ticks off the scalp and out of hair, always wear a hat.
• Wear long, light colored pants (this will make the ticks more visible if they attach themselves).
• Wear bug repellant that has been EPA approved.
• Wear long sleeved shirts and tuck the shirt into pants.
• Fold pant legs into socks to prevent ticks from attaching by the ankles.
SafeGuard uses only the best professional products available for tick eradication. Our licensed technicians have the experience to locate ticks where they are hiding and implement successful treatment procedures.
SafeGuard Pest Control recognizes that a tick infestation is a serious issue. Due to the number of diseases these pests cause, SafeGuard recommends that business or homeowners who suspect a tick problem to schedule a thorough inspection.