What do ticks look like?
Ticks have a flat oval shape, unless they are full from a blood meal. Ticks have 8 legs and are actually in the arachnid family like spiders, scorpions, and even mites. Ticks are not considered insects. There are many types of ticks and all sorts of colors. Ticks can be brown, black, reddish brown, yellow, and even gray in color. Ticks grow up to about 1/8 of an inch long. Ticks have a very tiny head. You coud almost say they look crab-like in appearance.
Types Of Ticks In Houston Area
There are two basic types of ticks – hard ticks and soft ticks. In Texas, hard ticks are more common than soft ones. Typically, residents of the state come across the following species most often:
Lone Star tick
Brown dog tick
American dog tick
Although ticks are considered to be parasites, the black-legged tick is the most dangerous as it is the species most notorious for carrying Lyme disease. If infected by the disease, you could experience migraines, joint pain, heart palpitations, and other neurological issues.
Ticks transmit diseases by feeding on pets and animals. For the most part, they hitchhike into your yard on other animals and wait for an appropriate host. When they find a warm body, they latch on. To accomplish this, they use hooks to dig into the skin. Then, they use a hook-like appendage called a hypostome to hold on. The hypostome is so well-anchored that you may not be able to remove the tick without using certain tools and extreme caution.
Generally, ticks like the warm months in summer and spring and in most cases can be found in the wooded and grassy areas such as your yard where the creatures they feed on live and roam, including deer, rabbits, birds, lizards, squirrels, mice, and other rodents. However, they can also be found in urban areas as well as on beaches in coastal areas. They also like moist and humid environments, which tend to be closer to the ground—such as among logs, fallen branches, tall brush, and grassy areas. Ticks in the early lifecycle stages—larvae and nymphs—are often found in piles of decomposing leaves under trees.
Not only do these inviting conditions exist in remote wilderness area, they can be found in parks, fields, picnic areas, and residential areas, including your backyard. The following are a few common tick habitats where it’s advisable to keep a close eye out for ticks:
Wood piles, which can often harbor mice and other rodents
High grassy areas
Stone walls and other features that may retain moisture
Leaf piles and litter
Fallen and low-hanging branches
Bird feeders (because they can invite other tick-attracting wildlife)
Diseases Spread By Ticks
In addition to spreading Lyme disease, ticks also spread other diseases to humans or animals. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, ehrlichiosis, Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), and tularemia are only some of the tick-borne illnesses spread to humans.
It’s also important to realize that a tick bite could also cause an allergic reaction. You may experience a rash or a burning sensation. If you want to avoid a tick bite, you need to take some preventative measures.
If you suspect you may have ticks in your yard or want to try and prevent them we strongly recommend contacting a professional pest control company such as Grand Slam Pest Control. We do NOT advise attempting to utilize DIY chemical application as these chemicals can cause environmental damage and/or health issues if not utilized properly. If you see ticks on pets, we recommend contacting your vet immediately. If ticks are found on your family members, we recommend contacting your primary care physician immediately.