Tick Identification

What are ticks? 

Ticks are a type of external parasite that feeds on human and animal blood. They are not insects but a type of arachnid related to spiders, mites, and scorpions. Most of the ticks we encounter have a soft body but a rigid plate (scutum) located on the back behind the biting mouthparts. Ticks are wingless; adults have eight legs, and they have a single, oval body region that is relatively flat until they eat. After consuming a blood meal, the tick’s body swells and increases its size. Most ticks range in color from light tan to reddish-brown to black. 

tick biting skin

Are ticks dangerous?

Ticks are disease-spreading dangerous pests. They come in second to mosquitoes for their ability to spread diseases that significantly impact people’s health. Because ticks feed slowly and on multiple hosts throughout their life makes it quite easy for these pests to spread diseases to their hosts. Ticks are well-known for spreading the very serious Lyme disease in addition to anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia.

Why do I have a tick problem?

Ticks live outside in warm, humid areas; in our area, they are most problematic during the summer and fall seasons when their populations are highest. Ticks have a four-stage life cycle — egg, larva, nymph, and adult; they find a new host to feed on at each life stage. 

As their animal host moves around foraging for food and nesting sites, they transport the ticks with them. After feeding, the ticks drop to the ground until they are ready for their next meal. In addition to our yards, ticks often get into our homes on people, pets, or rodent intruders. The good news is that most ticks cannot breed indoors and aren’t a huge issue inside our homes.

Where will I find ticks?

Yards with damp soil under leaf cover, overgrown shrubbery, and woodpiles will attract small animals and allow large populations of ticks to form. 

Ticks waiting for a host to happen by are found in areas of dense vegetation or tall grass; they climb to the tops of vegetation and wait for a human or animal host to pass by that they can climb onto. 

Areas where we often come into contact with ticks include:

  • Near play structures and outdoor tables.

  • In ditches and along fencelines.

  • Around bird feeders and trash cans.

  • In densely wooded areas.

  • Along walking or hiking trails.

How do I get rid of ticks?

Ticks are tricky pests to control because they live and breed outdoors and are regularly introduced into our yards by many different types of animals, including our pets. To control ticks on your property, it is best to partner with a local pest professional. Since 1936, Capital Pest has used the latest technologies and most effective products to guard residential and commercial properties from ticks and other pests. To control ticks on your Maryland, Washington, D.C., or Northern Virginia property, reach out today for more information about our comprehensive tick treatments!

How can I prevent ticks in the future?

For homeowners looking to keep ticks out of their Maryland, Washington, D.C., or Northern Virginia yards, partner with the experienced professionals at Capitol Pest. With the help of our year-round, affordable pest control plans and the following prevention tips, your yard will become a place ticks won’t want to live.

  • Always inspect yourself and your pets for ticks after spending time outside. Regularly groom and bathe pets.

  • Protect pets by placing them on a year-round tick preventative program under the guidance of their veterinarian.

  • Help keep rodents and other wild animals off your property by removing food sources like bird feeders, uneaten pet food, and placing tight-fitting lids on trash cans.

  • Keep grass on your property cut short.

  • Maintain landscaping and prevent it from overgrowing.

  • Remove popular hiding spots from your yard like piles of leaves, brush, and other debris.

  • If wooded areas surround your property, cut them back to maintain a barrier between wooded areas and your lawn.

Helpful Articles

The Trick To Effective Tick Control In Your Laurel Yard

Four Easy & Effective Tick Control Tips For Washington D.C. Property Owners


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