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Frequently Asked Questions about Ticks

Ticks are external parasites that live off of blood. They are vectors of a range of infections, including Lyme disease, canine ehrlichiosis, tick paralysis, St. Louis encephalitis, hepatozoonosis, tularemia, Mt. Spotted Fever, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis. Since they cannot fly or jump, they stalk the host from ground level, cracks, and crevices, or even inside a kennel or house. Elderly or weak puppies, dogs, and cats are at high risk and can die due to anemia from a sudden attack of seed ticks (6-legged stage of newborn ticks that attack in numbers up to 30,000 at a time).

If you suspect a tick infestation, you should call an expert dealing with tick control in Boston. These pests multiply so fast and can cause severe problems to you, your loved ones and pets.

Here are some frequently asked questions about ticks.

What is a tick?

Ticks are arachnids. Their lifecycle includes four stages: egg, larvae, nymph, and adult. At the larval stage, the ticks have six legs, but the transition to eight when they reach the lymph and adult stage. When unfed, a tick has a flat, teardrop-shaped body. Adult ticks may resemble insects, but unlike insects, they have eight legs and do not have an antenna on their head. They have different body color patterns depending on sex, life stage, and species.

Where do ticks live?

There are three main tick species, each with different habitat preferences and tolerances. The American dog tick lives in warm and dry places like trails, roadsides, and lawns. The lone star tick can survive in different habitats, including the sun of a yard to the shade of the forest. The black-legged tick stays in high moisture or humidity areas and is commonly found in the woods where there’s dense vegetation.

Where do people encounter ticks?

Ticks can be found almost everywhere, from the workplace to school and even outdoors. A pet could bring the ticks to your home, or you could brush against a groundcover that contains a black-legged tick and so on.

When are ticks active?

These blood-sucking arachnids become active whenever the temperatures are above freezing. Ticks have physiological and behavioral adaptations that enable them to survive adverse condition, including summer heat and winter cold.

What infections do ticks spread?

Different species carry different disease-causing pathogens. In all, the ticks can transfer more than a single pathogen at a time. Meaning, the black-legged tick (the only one that carries Lyme disease bacteria) can still transfer pathogens that cause Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis and Powassan virus. Lone star tick can transmit STARI, Ehrlichiosis, and Tularemia. American dog tick can transmit Tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

How do I get rid of ticks?

You can use a pair of ultra-fine tweezers to get rid of the tick from your body. Place the fine-tipped tweezers on the skin (ensure it’s as closest to the surface as possible to avoid cutting the tick in two) and pluck it out.  Then place it in a zippered plastic bag and label information (just in case symptoms arise). If you have an infestation, you should call a professional tick exterminator to clear them from your property. They have the necessary experience, knowledge, and tools to execute the process successfully.

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