Common ticks in Washington
Like spiders, scorpions, and mites, ticks are actually arachnids. They are parasites that feed on human and animal blood in order to survive. It is because of this that they are capable of spreading serious disease. In Central Washington, the most common types of ticks include the Western black-legged ticks, brown dog ticks, American dog ticks, and Rocky Mountain wood ticks.
Brown Dog Ticks
Prior to a blood meal brown dog ticks are reddish-brown in color and have no real distinctive markings; they are about 1/8th of an inch long and they have flat elongated bodies. After feeding their bodies expand to about ½ of an inch in length and they turn a steel blue-gray color.
Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks
Rocky Mountain wood ticks look very similar to American dog ticks. Before feeding they are brownish in color and after feeding they turn grayish in color. They are huskier, more full-bodied and have shorter mouthparts.
Western Black Legged Ticks
Adult black-legged ticks have a hard, oval shaped body that is brownish-black in color. Females have brown-black plates on their backs and orange colored abdomens. Their eight legs are darker in color than the rest of their bodies.
American Dog Ticks
Before feeding American dog ticks are brownish-tan in color and have marbled white or yellow markings. After consuming a blood meal they turn grayish-blue or olive green in color. Their bodies are oval in shape but when full of blood they increase in size and become rounder.
Why do I have a problem with ticks on my property?
Ticks are most often introduced onto properties by rodents and other wild animals traveling through. They are often found lurking in tall grasses and in thick vegetation as well as in overgrown shrubs, bushes, and wooded areas. When a potential host wanders by, they’ll drop down onto them.
Do ticks bite?
Yes, ticks use their specialized mouthparts to bite through the skin of their host. They’ll then insert a feeding tube and begin feeding on their host’s blood. Once engorged with blood, they will drop off of their host and hide until they feed again.
Are ticks dangerous?
Yes, ticks are dangerous because of the number of serious diseases that they can spread. Diseases that they are responsible for spreading to people and pets include anaplasmosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and many more. Visit Washington State Department of Health’s website for more information about tickborne illnesses.
How do I get rid of ticks?
Treating your yard is an effective way to reduce tick activity. You should also evaluate wildlife activity on your property or even in your home and take any necessary steps to correct the problem. For more information about tick control or for help on how to stop rodents and other wild animals from introducing ticks, please reach out to Prosite Pest Control today.
How do I prevent problems with ticks?
To prevent tick bites and to make your property less attractive to these parasitic pests, we recommend the following prevention tips.
- Remove overgrowth from your yard
- Keep your lawn well-manicured
- Eliminate anything that attracts wildlife including bird feeders
- Stay in the middle of paths when hiking or walking on trails
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when spending time in the woods
- Inspect your family and pets after spending time outdoors
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