Ticks are parasites or small arachnids found throughout the world. Most ticks are found in warm, humid climates, especially the tropics or desert regions like New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Texas. Ticks live in these climates because when they undergo metamorphosis, the process requires a certain amount of moisture. Frigid temperatures impede the developmental process of the tick life cycle. Thus, the ideal tick ecosystem encompasses a host species and humidity of some capacity.
A tick’s head, thorax, and abdomen are fused together into one body region. This trait differs ticks from other arachnids such as spiders, mites, and scorpions. Most arachnid bodies’ have three separate regions for their head, thorax, and abdomen. Another trait that separates ticks from other arachnids includes the absence of an antennae and possessing four pairs of legs.
Diet and Feeding
Ticks feed on hosts and live on a diet of blood also known as a process called hematophagy. Most ticks feed on a wide range of hosts such as amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. As ticks feed, they release chemicals that prevent blood from clotting. Their mouths are small and oftentimes the host is unaware they have been bitten. Depending upon the type and life stage of the tick, the preparation for feeding may take between ten minutes or two hours. Once the tick has located a feeding spot (ears, hairline, armpits etc). the tick grasps the skin, cuts into the surface, and buries its head into the blood. Almost immediately throughout a feeding, females often swell to a larger size than males.
Ticks carry viruses, bacteria, rickettsiae, and protozoa that causes paralysis. The most common tick-borne disease is Lyme disease. Symptoms of the disease include a distinctive skin rash, chills, fever, fatigue, head, joint and muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes. Neurological symptoms may occur as well. Lyme diease is a challenge to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases. Other tick-borne diseases include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, relapsing fever, tularemia, and many others.
Getting Rid of Ticks:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp a tick and detach from skin
- Disinfect bite area
- Tuck pants into socks or boots to prevent crawling up pant legs
- Shower after returning from the outdoors
- Perform daily tick checks on pets and children
- Call a professional
At Pest Defense Solutions, our staff is happy to help you with ticks or other pest problems. We have trained professionals to help you rid your home or office of ticks so you can get back to your busy life with peace of mind. Contact us today for more information!
Tags: Behavior, Diseases, Pest Defense Solutions, Prevention, Ticks