What Should I Do If A Wood Tick Bites Me
Unlike a deer tick bite, a wood tick bite wont cause the classic bullseye rash. If you find a wood tick on your body, use the same method Merchant recommends above: Gently pull the tick out using tweezers. You dont want to twist and bend, Merchant warns. If you break the head off, it can continue to expose you to whatever pathogens might have been in its mouth parts.
And like before, save the tick in a sealable plastic bag and store it in the freezer. If you start to notice any unusual symptoms associated with the diseases aboveincluding a fever, chills, headaches, stomach or muscle pain, and a dotted rash on the skinthe insect will be available for testing.
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When To See A Doctor
Anyone who develops a rash or fever in the weeks following a tick bite should contact their doctor.
It can help to make notes about the bite, such as when it occurred and any symptoms that appeared after the bite. Taking pictures of the bite or the tick itself may also assist a doctor with diagnosis.
Illnesses Of Deer And Wood Ticks
Each tick carries its own distinct illnesses as well. Knowing the difference which tick bit you can help a doctor determine which illness you may have been exposed to.
Deer Ticks The black-legged tick and the western black-legged ticks are the only ticks that can carry the bacterium that causes Lyme Disease.
Wood Tick There are actually three different varieties of ticks that can carry the same illness that a wood tick carries. The bacterium carried by the wood tick is a rickettsia, which causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Considering that the symptoms of both illnesses are very similar, it can be hard to diagnose them without knowing what type of tick you were exposed to. Both illnesses, however, can be very dangerous if left untreated.
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Preventing Tick Bites And Disease
The best way to protect yourself against tickborne illness is to avoid tick bites. This includes avoiding known tick- infested areas. However, if you live in or visit wooded areas or areas with tall grass and weeds, follow these precautions to help prevent tick bites and decrease the risk of disease:
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What Is The Typical Lifecycle Of A Tick
Ticks generally have four stages of life: egg, larvae, nymph and adult.
Eggs, which can number into the thousands, are laid by the female tick. These eggs hatch into larvae, which are also known as seed ticks. The larvae typically attach to smaller animals, such as mice and birds.
After several days of feeding, the larvae develop into nymphs, which can then attach to larger hosts and then ultimately turn into adult ticks. Most tick-borne diseases are transmitted by nymphs, which are so small that hosts often dont see them.
Ticks advance through each of these stages by molting, a process during which they shed their outer skin.
Image Source: Dr. Christopher Paddock
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What Do Wood Ticks Look Like
Wood tick is actually a generic name that could apply to a number of species of ticks, Merchant says, but its most commonly used to describe American dog ticks, which have dark brown bodies. Male American dog ticks present a mottled gray pattern, while females have an off-white scutum. Wood ticks are larger than deer ticks, making them a bit easier to spot.
Is It Possible To Have A Tick Bite On Your Head
It is possible to have a tick bite on your head, but it is not common. Ticks may attach themselves to the scalp, but they usually die there before they can burrow into the skin. However, if you find a tick attached to your scalp and remove it within one hour of finding it, you will have no chance of getting Lyme disease.
The subspecies of the deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, can cause a single large, flat and hard bump on the scalp that looks like a pimple. This bump is not normally associated with any other symptoms. If this occurs and is not a secondary infection, it is usually no cause for concern.
If you are worry about your circumstances, you can report to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about common ticks around you. You can also spread tick repellent around.
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What To Do If Bitten By A Tick
If you, a loved one or a pet is bitten by a tick, the first thing to do is to remove the tick and disinfect the area as quickly as possible.
Just because you were bitten does not guarantee you were infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme Disease. By removing the tick, it does reduce the risk of exposure, though not eliminating it.
The Difference Between Deer Tick And Wood Tick
Tell your neighbors.
If you’re spending time outsidewhether it’s gardening, camping or clearing brush around your homemake sure you check yourself, your loved ones and your pets for ticks. These pests are small and can easily attach to your body. Ticks can also cause serious health problems, so knowing more about the different types is vital.
There are many varieties of ticks, but let’s focus on wood ticks vs. deer ticks. It’s important to know the characteristics of each for proper identification and avoidance, as each are primary carriers of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other serious diseases. Here’s a guide for identifying the differences and similarities of these two tick species so you know what to do if either one ends up on you or someone you love.
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What To Do If You Find A Tick
With ticks being prevalent in the United States, theres a chance youll experience a tick bite at some point in your life.
Keep in mind that not all ticks carry disease and that finding them on your skin early reduces the chance theyll transmit illness to you.
Make sure you check your body after spending time outdoors or near your pets. Make sure to check your pets and children for ticks as well.
You probably wont feel a tick bite, but will see it attached to your skin or feel it if its on an area of your body that you cant see, such as your scalp or back. Follow these steps if you have a tick attached to your skin:
- Remove the tick if its attached to your body with tweezers.
- Use the tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skins surface as possible.
- Try to pull it out directly without twisting or jerking your hand. This will ensure that youll get the entire parasite out of your body.
- Clean the bite site as well as your hands after removal.
Dont try to remove the tick with substances like petroleum jelly or alcohol.
There are several ways you can prevent tick bites:
If you develop a concerning rash or flu-like symptoms within several weeks of a tick bite, talk with your doctor immediately.
You may also have these symptoms without ever spotting a tick on you.
One sign of Lyme disease is a bulls-eye rash that radiates out of the tick bite. You may see this rash even if the tick fell off your body before you spotted it.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has Been Bitten By A Tick
If you are worried about your dog or loved one getting Lyme disease, be sure to check for ticks after you have taken your dog for a walk. Look for small, dark spots that may be evidence of tick activity, such as brown dog tick, or you can do tick identification to clearly know which tick is bite your dog.
The first step is to remove the tick carefully with tweezers. Do not use your fingers as this may result in more damage to the ticks mouth parts. Then place the skin behind the ear so that it can be seen without having to remove all the hair on your dogs body. If you see no blood spots, but you are concerned about your dogs health, take him or her to a veterinarian immediately for testing and possible treatment for Lyme disease .
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Deer Tick Mating And Laying Eggs
The reason that black-legged ticks prefer deer is they use them to both mate on, and also to get that last blood meal before the females lay eggs.
The deer tick will feed only three times in its short life, and die shortly after laying her eggs. However, it can take her up to two weeks after breeding to fully lay all of her eggs before dying.
What Is The Difference Between A Deer Tick Vs Wood Tick
Ticks are little creatures, so it can be hard to tell the difference between deer tick vs. wood tick using the naked eye. One thing they both have in common though, is they want to suck your blood.
A deer tick, scientifically known as Ixodes scapularis, has black-legs. Often considered a regular tick, its bite affects your joints, skin, heart, and nervous system. The deer tick is found predominately in the type of forest where trees lose their leaves each fall. Deer ticks depend on their favorite host, the white-tailed deer to distribute their eggs over the habitat.
A wood tick, or Dermacentor variabilis, is also called an American dog tick. These ticks are found mainly in grassy fields, near brush, and along pathways. Unlike the deer tick, it prefers areas with little or no tree cover. The wood tick will feed on a variety of hosts, from mice to deer, and of course dogs.
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Blacklegged Tick Also Known As The Deer Tick
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All three active stages of the blacklegged / deer tick will feed on a variety of hosts including people. After the eggs hatch in the spring, the very tiny larvae feed primarily on white-footed mice or other small mammals. The following spring, the larvae molt into pinhead-sized, brown nymphs that will feed on mice, larger warm-blooded animals and people. In the fall, they molt into adults that feed primarily on deer, with the females laying eggs the following spring. Adults are reddish-brown and about 1/8-inch long .
These ticks are found in wooded areas along trails. The larvae and nymphs are active in the spring and early summer adults may be active in both the spring and fall. The blacklegged / deer tick can transmit Lyme disease, babesiosis and possibly ehrlichiosis to humans.
The deer tick has been found sporadically in many Illinois counties. However, in recent years it has been common only in limited areas, mostly in northern Illinois . Additionally, Illinois residents may encounter the deer tick during trips to Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin or the northeastern United States where it is very common in some areas.
Prevention And Control Of Ticks Around The Home
Make sure the property around your home is unattractive to ticks. Because ticks are sensitive to dry conditions and do not thrive in short vegetation, they are seldom a problem in well-maintained lawns. Keep your grass mowed and keep weeds cut. Clean up items that attract rodents which can carry ticks, such as spilled birdseed, and hiding places like old wood piles. If ticks are present in vegetation along the edge of the property, insecticides labeled for control of ticks can be applied to small areas of high weeds that cannot be mowed. Often, one or two applications per season will be adequate to control ticks in these areas.
Free-roaming dogs and cats are much more likely to encounter ticks than those that are confined to the home or yard. If ticks are found on pets, contact your veterinarian for information about an appropriate tick treatment. Remove the occasional tick found indoors by vacuuming, seal the vacuum bag and place it in the trash. Owners of kennels or homes infested with the brown dog tick may wish to contact a professional pest control company for assistance.
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How Do I Remove A Tick
It’s important to remove a tick as soon as possible. Follow these steps:
Note: Never use petroleum jelly or a hot match to kill and remove a tick. These methods don’t get the tick off the skin, and can make it burrow deeper and release more saliva .
What Diseases Do Deer Ticks Carry
Deer ticks are perhaps the most feared species because they are known to carry the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi and B. mayonii. The deer tick is what we think is the primary vector of Lyme disease across the whole U.S., Merchant says.
Deer ticks spread Lyme disease by feeding on infected hosts, including mice and deer. Most ticks feed three times in their lives, once at each life stage. Tick larvae and nymphs are more likely to feed on smaller animals, while adults often seek out larger hosts, including humans, Merchant says. In other words, adult ticks have already had two previous chances to pick up Lyme, making them more likely to spread it to human hosts.
Deer ticks also carry other unpleasant diseases, like relapsing fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and Powassan virus.
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Blacklegged Tick Life Cycle
Blacklegged ticks live for about two to three years. Most of their life is spent out in the environment rather than on a host or in a hosts nest. During their entire lifetime, they will only have up to three blood meals. The picture below shows that the life cycle begins when the female lays eggs. As the egg matures, it develops into a larva , then a nymph and finally, an adult male or female .
In the spring of their first year, eggs hatch into larvae. Larvae prefer to feed on blood from small mammals, like mice and birds. Larvae have one feeding then molt into nymphs and rest until the next spring. During this first meal, the larva may pick up a disease agent while feeding on a small mammal, such as a white-footed mouse.
Late in the spring of their second year, nymphs take their second feeding. Nymphs arent as picky with their choice of host and will feed on blood from small or large mammals, such as white-tailed deer or humans. At this time, if the nymph is infected with a disease agent then it could spread the disease agent to a human or animal that it feeds on.
This picture shows each of the life stages of the blacklegged tick: adult female, adult male, nymph, and larva. It also shows the relative sizes and patterns of the blacklegged tick, lone star tick, and American dog tick.
Differences Between Deer Ticks And Wood Ticks
A deer tick, also known as the Black-legged tick or Western black-legged tick, is called a deer tick due to its choice of mating spot and blood meal , although any species will do in a pinch.
Wood ticks, also known as the American dog tick, the brown dog tick or the Rocky Mountain wood tick, are called wood ticks because they are primarily found near the woods. Like the term deer tick, wood tick actually refers to a couple of species of ticks that prefer canines as their blood meal.
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Reduce The Risk Of Ticks At Home
If you live in a rural area that has ticks, you can take steps to reduce the risk to yourself and your children. For a complete guide, check out How To Keep Ticks Out Of Your Yard, and Your Kids Safe .
The first summer after my family moved to the country, we found a tick on my youngest daughter. She had only been playing in the yard and garden. But we have never seen signs of ticks in our yard or wild field in the years since.
The year we moved into our house, it had been empty for several years. The yard was overgrown and there were high weeds everywhere. All those weeds are a great way to transport ticks. Plus, the animals were creeping in from the wild.
After we moved in, we kept the yard mowed, the weeds trimmed, and the wild things at bay. We repaired fences and traipsed all over our property.
Ticks travel on animals and keeping the weeds under control eliminated hiding places that animals liked to use. That meant no more ticks or at least a few enough that we havent run into them since.
- Trim bushes and trees
- Keep the yard mowed and in good shape
- Good fences help to keep our wild tick-carrying animals
- Employ predators of ticks
Did you know that chickens eat ticks? So do guinea fowl. If you are up for a little adventure, tasty eggs, and want to give your kids responsibility, then you can raise birds. Your birds will help to keep the tick population in your yard under control!.