Deer Tick Facts
Commonly known as: black-legged tick, blacklegged tick, bear tick
Named for their tendency to feed on white-tailed deer, deer ticks also feed on other mammals like mice, rabbits, and squirrels. Deer ticks are also referred to as black-legged ticks and are members of the arachnid family. Humans and pets can contract Lyme disease from untreated deer tick bites. Both nymph (immature tick) and adult deer ticks transmit other diseases including babesiosis and anaplasmosis.
Deer Tick Infestations & Habitat
Deer ticks are typically found in wooded areas along nature trails and in forests, however, they do appear in suburban areas as well. Though usually associated with prevalence in the Northeast, deer ticks can live wherever their favorite host of rodents and deer are present. This can be throughout central and eastern United States, right into the cities.
Deer Ticks & Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a debilitating (but rarely fatal) disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms mirror those of the flu.
Most humans are infected through the bites of a nymph. Nymphs are the smallest and most tiny and difficult to spot. Adult deer ticks can also transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease but, they are larger and are easier to uncover.
If left untreated, patients can develop health problems that include facial paralysis, heart palpitations, arthritis, severe headaches, and neurological disorders. Deer ticks are the most common carries of this bacterium. Lyme disease is transmitted to human and animal hosts through the deer tick’s bite. If the tick has been attached for less than 24 hours your chances of contracting Lyme disease is much less.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ticks
How do ticks travel?
Deer ticks, like other arachnids, crawl; they can’t jump or fly. Ticks perch on tall grass blades and leaves in wooded areas, trails, and suburban areas, waiting for a desirable host to attach themselves to. Ticks often utilize their host as a means of travel.
Where do deer ticks live?
Deer ticks live in shaded areas, at ground level. They cling to tall grass, brush, leaves and shrubs, 18-24 inches off the ground. Deer ticks can also live in lawns and gardens, especially those located towards the edge of woods. It is important to check yourself and your pets upon returning indoors from wooded areas, or areas of high grass.
How do you remove a tick from a dog or cat?
If you discover a tick on your pet, follow the recommended steps below:
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your pet's skin as possible, never pinch a tick with your fingers
- Using a steady grip, pull the tick straight out slowly
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with soap and water or a disinfectant scrub
- Treat the bite with antiseptic wash or ointment
- Dispose of a live tick by submerging it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, or flushing it down the toilet
- Disinfect or dispose of your tweezers
How do you get rid of ticks in the yard?
Make your property less attractive to ticks by removing leaf litter and brush, mowing regularly, and keeping tall grass along your property lines low. Create a barrier of wood chips or gravel, about three feet wide, between wooded areas and your lawn to prevent ticks from moving into that area. Discourage deer or other wildlife that may bring the ticks into your yard with them, wind chimes work well to keep deer away as they get spooked by the noise. For information on the professional pest control process of eliminating ticks, contact us for your free inspection.
What kinds of ticks carry Lyme disease?
Deer ticks transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. While other species of tick do not carry Lyme, they can transmit other diseases.
Is there a cure for Lyme disease?
If you are diagnosed in the early stages, Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics. Without treatment complications involving the joints, heart, and nervous system can occur; these symptoms are still treatable and curable.