Tick Control in the New England Area
Protect Your Home or Business From Ticks
Greater than 500 species of ticks exist worldwide. Ticks are divided into two groups according to body type hard and soft ticks. Hard ticks belong to the family Ixodidae, while soft ticks are part of the family Argasidae.
Appearance / Identification
Like their spider relatives, adult ticks have four pairs of legs extending from the sides of their bodies. Ticks vary in size from six-legged larvae measuring less than a millimeter in length to eight-legged adults with bodies ranging up to 1/4-inch long, depending on species and gender.
Hard ticks, such as the American dog tick, feature a rigid shield directly behind the mouth and look like flattened seeds.
Devoid of such a shield, soft ticks instead resemble large raisins. The color of ticks ranges from brown and reddish-brown to black. Adult female ticks belonging to certain species boast solitary silver or white spots on their backs.
Parasitic by nature, ticks primarily live in wooded areas or thick vegetation where they can easily wait and attach onto a passing host. They frequently lurk within grasses or shrubs adjacent to paths heavily traveled by humans and other animals. They detect hosts by vibrational cues, odors, exhaled carbon dioxide, and even cast shadow patterns. These pests prefer to hide in weeds up to 24 inches and more to facilitate feeding.
Lurking Outside or Indoors
Certain species of ticks, like the deer tick, are prone to drying out and consequently prefer to inhabit moist areas with high humidity. They dig down into leaf and pine litter for shelter during the heat of the day. Other tick varieties, such as brown dog ticks, can survive indoors and often hide in cracks or under furniture in households with pets and other suitable hosts.
Can Ticks Fly or Jump?
Contrary to popular belief, ticks cannot fly or jump. The parasites move solely by crawling, often preferring to travel up the body of a host before feeding.
Ticks feed on the blood of amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles. Most common species of ticks, however, prefer warm-blooded mammals like deer, humans, and household pets such as dogs.
Immature ticks not yet fully developed often attach to and consume the blood of small animals like raccoons, rodents, and squirrels. When feeding, ticks latch onto a host firmly and slowly ingest the blood for up to several days, if undetected.
Reproduction & Life Cycle
The life cycle of most ticks includes four distinct stages egg, larva, nymph, and adult.
Tick Eggs & Larvae
Like many animals, adult female ticks wait until spring to lay eggs, which quickly hatch into six-legged larvae over the summer and become eight-legged nymphs the following spring.
Ticks remain in the nymph stage until reaching full maturity, sometimes three years after hatching. A bloodmeal is needed at each stage of the life cycle. If a suitable host is not located, tick larvae can survive long periods of time without feeding between molting into nymphs.
Diseases Caused by Ticks
As parasitic creatures, ticks pose potentially serious threats to humans and other host animals. Ticks often pass disease-causing pathogens into the bloodstreams of the hosts on which they feed. Common tick varieties often transfer bacteria, parasitic worms, and viruses from an infected host to an uninfected one. Most notably, ticks are frequent carriers of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Tips to Prevent Tick-Borne Illnesses
Infection can be avoided with the prompt removal of ticks, as the pests may wait up to a day and a half before transferring bacteria to hosts. Other precautionary measures include keeping yards free of overgrown vegetation and wearing pants, long sleeves, and repellents containing DEET or Permethrin when traveling through wooded, grassy areas favorable for ticks.
Learn More About the Diseases Ticks Can Spread
How We Get Rid of Ticks
We understand how much of a risk ticks pose to the health of your family and pets and that is why we offer our Tick Control Service for homes throughout most of New England.
The Waltham Pest Services Tick Control Program includes a thorough inspection of the property. The trained technicians will identify the areas of heavy tick activity. They will have the latest tools and equipment to treat these areas effectively.
The pros from Waltham Pest Services will also help the homeowner prevent future tick problems. If there are landscaping issues that can be corrected, the technicians will identify them for the homeowner. They will also suggest ways to limit people and pets coming in contact with ticks.
Contact the local Waltham Pest Services branch office for more information about the Tick Control Program or to schedule a service.
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Techniques to help reduce exposure to ticks include the following:
Outdoor Precautions & Skin Protection
- Avoid walking or hiking off trails in woodland areas and keep pets from walking off trails and in weed growth.
- Conduct tick checks on each other after being outside.
- Wear insect repellent clothing treated with the active ingredient Permethrin.
- Wear white socks and tuck pant legs into the socks.
Lawn & Home Maintenance
- Cut tall vegetation and trees back to allow more sun and air into shaded areas.
- Eliminate leaf and pine needle litter on the ground.
- Keep weeds and other wild growing, low vegetation away from the house, and spaces used outside.
- Place sand boxes, swing sets, and other outdoor child play equipment away from shaded, cool areas.
- Take steps to keep squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, and deer away from your yard to prevent possible encounters that feed off of these animals.