Ticks are understandably fearsome pests, considering their potential for transmitting illnesses like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. However, avoiding ticks isn’t as much of a science as you might think. Ticks are fairly predictable, so tick protection is as easy as learning your enemy and potentially enlisting the help of your local Durham pest control professionals.
However, if you do get bitten by a tick, there are some protocols you should follow to ensure you’ll have no long-lasting health effects. Here’s everything you need to know about the ticks in Durham, the diseases they can transmit, their life cycle, and natural tick prevention and tick treatment methods.
What Does A Tick Look Like In Durham?
In North Carolina, there are a few different kinds of ticks to be aware of that pose unique health risks. These species are the American dog tick, the black-legged tick, the lone star tick, and the brown dog tick.
The American dog tick gets its name for its preference for domestic dogs. This 3/16 inch long parasite is brown with whitish to gray markings. An engorged tick can be up to 5/16 of an inch long. They are oval-shaped and mostly uniform in color.
The black-legged deer tick can grow to around 1/8 of an inch and is usually an orange-brown with dark-colored legs. Their preferred host is the white-tailed deer, which is how they get their name. This species is not as rounded as the American dog tick and has a much more distinguishable head.
Named for the single silvery dot on the back of a female, the lone star tick can grow to around ¼ of an inch when un-engorged. It is typically reddish-brown and has very distinguishable head and mouthparts. The male ticks will have inverted horseshoe-shaped and white spots on their backs.
Finally, the brown dog tick can grow to around 1/8 of an inch, is reddish-brown, and turns a bluish-gray after a blood meal. There is no variation in color between the males and females of this species. Their heads are very small, barely distinguishable from their bodies. Each of these species can be found in the Carolinas, and tick bites from any of them may prove a significant health risk.
What Diseases Can Ticks Transmit?
Some diseases are unique to the type of tick. The American dog tick can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) and tularemia; the black-legged deer tick can transmit anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Lyme disease; the lone star tick transmits tularemia, Heartland virus, Bourbon virus, and Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI); and the brown dog tick can spread RMSF, canine ehrlichiosis, and canine Babesia.
If a tick has bitten you, carefully remove it with a pair of tweezers by pulling straight out. Clean the area with soap and water, and watch the site for a developing bulls-eye or rash. As symptoms develop, visit your doctor to get testing and treatment.
How Long Do Ticks Live?
It is difficult to find a consensus on how long ticks live. Some estimate that species like the deer tick can live up to three years; however, if a tick doesn’t feed (and larvae can survive up to 540 days without feeding), they won’t progress onto their next stage of life. The CDC even states that most ticks die after that period of time because they can’t find their next blood meal.
In short, ticks live a long time, and they live even longer if convenient hosts are abundantly available, making one of the most effective tick treatment methods natural tick prevention. Depriving ticks of a hiding place and easy targets will limit their life span and reproductive capabilities.
Is There A Permanent Solution For Ticks On My Durham Property?
The most effective, permanent solution to get rid of ticks is help from The Eco Man Pest Solutions. Ticks in Durham thrive in certain conditions like long grass, sheltered in large shaded areas, inside yard and patio furniture, and in areas with lots of stray animals.
Don’t let tick bites be the first sign of a problem. Call The Eco Man Pest Solutions to establish tick protection in your Durham yard and home with an eco-friendly pesticide perimeter. If you have a tick problem, we can help you get rid of ticks and assess your property for risks that attract them, and keep them fed.
Practicing tick prevention is another effective way to protect yourself. Take care of your yard by keeping it trimmed, don’t leave debris like leaf piles sitting around. Check your pets before letting them indoors, and keep them treated for fleas and ticks with assistance from your veterinarian. When outside, wear long-sleeved clothing treated with picaridin. And, don’t even think about camping with picaridin on your camping equipment as well.
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