blacklegged tick in a backyard in upstate sc

Ticks

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What do ticks look like?

tiny blacklegged tick in an upstate sc backyard

In our region, there are a few ticks to be on the watch for. The list of ticks includes:

Blacklegged ticks AKA deer ticks
Blacklegged ticks are parasitic pests. Before feeding, they are about 1/8th of an inch in length.  The males are smaller than the females.  After feeding, their body will become engorged with blood, and they become much larger.  Their body is oval and broad.  Before feeding, they are
orange-brown, but after feeding, they become more rust-brown.

Brown dog ticks
Before feeding, brown dog ticks are red-brown and are approximately 1/8 of an inch in length.  After feeding, they can grow to 1/2 an inch in length and become gray-blue.  Their body has a flattened oval shape.

Lone star ticks
Lone star ticks are brown and measure about 1/8 of an inch; the females have a distinctive white spot in the middle of their back.  After feeding, lone star ticks become more of a slate gray color.

American dog ticks
American dog ticks are brown and have white or yellow-gray markings.  Males are about 1/8 of an inch in length, and females are a bit larger and can grow up to ½ inch in length after feeding.

Are ticks dangerous?

Yes, ticks are dangerous for both people and their pets; they are parasitic pests that can transmit a variety of diseases.  Diseases that they can spread include: Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia. It’s important to note, not all ticks carry all diseases and not all ticks that do are infected with disease.

Tick bites and Lyme disease

Lyme disease is caused by the corkscrew shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi that infected blacklegged ticks transmit to the host that they are feeding on.  The longer the tick is attached to the host the greater the chance that they will become infected with the Lyme disease pathogen.  Again, not all deer ticks carry Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is serious and can become debilitating over time if treatment is not sought.  The first symptoms of Lyme disease can impersonate the flu- fever, aches, and pains.  Another very
common symptom of Lyme disease is a distinctive bulls-eye rash that may present in one area or several areas of the body. Not all tick bites will present with the rash and in some cases, people don’t even realize they’ve been bit until other systems start occurring.

Overtime, untreated Lyme disease will lead to complications with the heart and nervous system, joint swelling, and the erosion of cartilage and bone.

If you are bitten by a tick, remove and save the tick in rubbing alcohol so that you can bring it to your doctor for identification.

How do you remove a tick?

If you find a tick on you or your pet and it is effectively removed within 24 hours, it will greatly reduce the chances of you or your pet getting Lyme disease.  To remove any species of tick use a pair of fine tipped tweezers, not your fingers, to grasp the tick as close to the skin of the host as possible and pull it off.

Tick control for your yard

Ticks are tricky to control without professional help because they are constantly being introduced onto your property by wild animals including mice. Spencer Pest Services offers effective tick control for property owners in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson and surrounding areas of the upstate of South Carolina and northern Georgia.  Treatments are part of a program that controls mosquitoes and fleas as well as other outdoor insects. You can learn more about this service by clicking here or giving us a call!

Tick prevention tips

In order to prevent problems with ticks on your property and in your home you should make sure that any pets that spend time outside are treated under the guidance of their veterinarian.  It is also a good idea to make sure that your lawn is trimmed short and that any wooded areas are cut back from your property; ticks like to hide in both.  When spending time outside it is a good idea to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts and to check yourself for ticks before coming back inside.

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