Texas is full of ticks, particularly the Blacklegged Deer tick which begins to come active in the spring and plagues locals until the fall. The height of Blacklegged Deer tick season is the summer, starting in June. At this time, the nymphs and larva begin their search for a host and due to their size often goes unnoticed. A Five Star Termite & Pest Control will share how to identify Blacklegged Deer ticks, sign of infestation and what you can do to help control ticks in your yard.
What Do Blacklegged Ticks Look Like?
Blacklegged Deer ticks are very tiny, only measuring at 1/8 of an inch as adults. The nymphs are the size of a pinhead. The Blacklegged Deer tick males are dark brown with a pale colored abdomen which expands during feeding. The females are dark brown with an orange colored abdomen. Their legs are darker also coming in colors of black which gives them their name, the Blacklegged Deer tick. The females are larger than the males and are easier to spot with the coloring. Ticks are eight legged and are part of the Arachnid family, but evolved to feed on blood.
Why Do Ticks Feed on Blood?
Ticks require blood during every stage of their life. Female ticks gorge themselves on more blood to get enough nourishment to produce her eggs. A single female can lay thousands of eggs in her lifetime. Even though ticks can lay thousands of eggs, the survival rate is low. Often larva can’t find a host in time and never reaches adulthood. Blacklegged Deer ticks feed on mammals and will attack rodents, livestock, dogs and cats. Ticks, when they feed, embed the capitulum which is the mouth part of the tick. This is where they secrete an anti-clogging agent which prevents the blood from clotting. Sometimes the capitulum has a bacterium that can cause Lyme diseases and other pathogens. Ticks can often go unnoticed for days which increase the risk of infection and or contamination. Ticks love inhabiting woodland areas and invade homes and yards to find a host. Dogs and cats often bring ticks into the home as they go from host to host. Blacklegged Deer ticks are one of the more difficult species of ticks to control. They infest tall grass and bushes and coming in contact with infested vegetation often results in you or your pets becoming their host.
Controlling Ticks Starts in the Yard
Ticks will hide in tall grass and bushes while waiting for a host to rub against the vegetation. As they do, the ticks take the opportunity and cling onto their host. By maintaining your yard you will help reduce ticks. Keep grass short during the summer, and prevent over growth in the yard. When going outside while doing yard work, make sure to wear long sleeves, pants, and shoes that cover your feet. Additionally, wear repellent to help prevent ticks from crawling on you. Next make sure to frequently treat your pet and provide them with tick protection. After coming indoors in areas that are prone to ticks, make sure to wash your clothes in hot water. After coming indoors make sure your clothes go straight into the wash. Make sure to also bathe. Also bathe pets often and thoroughly inspect them.