Getting Rid of Ticks

Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases

Ticks are small, parasitic arachnids that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They can transmit a variety of diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and babesiosis.  Ticks are found in all parts of the United States, but they are most common in wooded areas and areas with tall grasses. They are active during the warmer months, but they can be found year-round in some areas.  Ticks attach to their hosts by inserting their barbed mouthparts into the skin. They can remain attached for several days, feeding on blood. During this time, they can transmit diseases.

Different Types of Ticks

There are more than 850 species of ticks in the world. The most common types of ticks in the United States include:

Deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) are the most common carriers of Lyme disease. They are found in the northeastern, north-central, and western United States.

Dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) are also known as wood ticks. They are found in most parts of the United States. They can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and ehrlichiosis.

Lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum) are found in the southeastern and south-central United States. They can transmit ehrlichiosis, tularemia, and southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI).

Wood ticks (Dermacentor andersoni) are found in the western United States. They can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and ehrlichiosis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are about 476,000 cases of Lyme disease reported in the United States each year. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick.

What Does an Engorged Tick Look Like?

An engorged tick is typically brown or black in color. It may have a white spot on its back. The tick's body will be swollen and round. The tick's legs may be extended or tucked in.

(Image: Engorged Tick)