The warm months of the year are meant for being spent outside. While we enjoy our time in the great outdoors, the opportunity for pests, including ticks, to find their way onto us and into our homes is wide open. Ticks are very commonly found in tall grass, low-to-the-ground shrubs, or wooded areas and latch onto humans or animals in order to feed.
While their tiny size might not seem menacing, ticks can transmit dangerous illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever to your or your pet. At the very least, their bite can cause unpleasant itching around the spot of insertion that lasts several days. Keeping an eye out for ticks after adventuring outside should become a regular part of your routine, as the longer they are allowed to feed, the higher the chance of infection is.
If you are worried about an infestation of ticks in your yard or home, Burns Pest Elimination is here to help. Continue reading for more information on how to identify ticks and prevent an outbreak from occurring.
How to Identify Ticks
While there are many types of ticks found across the country, many generally share similar characteristics. The most commonly found ticks in Arizona are the brown dog tick and the American dog tick, which are described as follows:
- Size – Generally, the young larval-stage ticks can clock in at around 1/32 of an inch, while adults get to about 1/8 of an inch big. If allowed to feed until fully engorged, they can swell up to 1/2 of an inch.
- Color – Both are typically a reddish-brown color when not engorged. If it has had a blood meal, its body will turn into a grayish-blue color.
- Shield – All hard ticks have a scutum, or “shield” on their top side. This shield takes up ⅓ of the body of female ticks and the entire body of males, protecting them from easily getting squashed.
Both the brown dog tick and the American dog tick prefer to feed on the blood of domesticated canines, and will latch onto them when they are outside. They typically only feed on animal blood, but they will bite humans if given the opportunity. Brown dog ticks in particular can be found at all times of the year and survive for 18 months without feeding.
Most ticks cannot survive in your home, preferring to stick to their natural habitat outdoors. However, the brown dog tick is an exception to that rule and can quickly create a population if brought inside. Female brown dog ticks only need 7 to 14 days to digest the blood they eat after becoming engorged, at which time they start laying eggs. They can lay up to 4,000 eggs at a time, choosing to do so on top of kennels, on ledges, or in cracks and crevices around the house. Because of this, outbreaks of brown dog ticks can occur very rapidly.
How to Prevent Ticks in Arizona
Diligence is the biggest factor when preventing an outbreak of ticks. When outside in the woods or tall grass, it is always a good idea to wear long pants and spray yourself with bug spray to deter ticks from finding skin to latch onto. Your pet should have a flea and tick collar on to help protect them from unwanted pests. When you get home, always check yourself and your pets for ticks thoroughly. They love warm, dark places, so be sure to check areas between your joints (like behind the knees, elbows, and armpits), areas covered in hair, and in the waistband lines of your pants and socks. Catching ticks early, removing them with tweezers, and either drowning them in rubbing alcohol or flushing it down the toilet can prevent them from feeding enough to lay eggs in your home.
Keeping the land by your house tidy also plays a big part in reducing the number of ticks in your area. Maintaining a trimmed lawn, removing excess shrubbery, and keeping dead leaves and wood away from your house all eliminate the natural habitat of ticks near your home, which reduces the chance that your or your pet brings them inside. You can also treat your yard with an anti-tick spray to further deter their spread.
Tick Control in Arizona & Las Vegas
Ticks can be a dangerous pest to have in your yard or home, so getting your space treated for them should be a priority. Unsure about how to handle that treatment yourself? Burns Pest Elimination is here to help. Don’t get caught in a “tick-y” situation; if you live in Phoenix, Tucson, or Las Vegas, give us a call or request a quote online today!