Ticks are commonly known among the public. Though they were simply once considered nuisance that would obnoxiously latch onto our pets, or even us, and once removed would leave an itchy discomfort at most, they make their presence known today as a high-risk health threat. With ticks being more than annoyance due to the number of threatening ailments and diseases they can transmit, it is important today, we at Stewart Termite & Pest Control would like to briefly elaborate on the top common ticks in Pittsburgh.
Tick Species Identification
Worldwide, there are more than 500 species of ticks. They usually feed on the blood of warm-blooded mammals, but will select a bird, reptile, or amphibian as a host if necessary. Parasitic worms, viruses, bacteria, spirochetes and rickettsias are frequently transmitted, as well as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Throughout Pennsylvania more than 25 species of ticks have been identified, however, the American dog tick, the blacklegged tick, the lone star tick, and the ground hog tick are the most common.
American Dog Tick
The top-most encountered tick that will easily attach themselves onto pets or people is the American Dog Ticks. These ticks are mostly responsible for transmitting Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
More likely to spread Lyme Disease, blacklegged ticks, once called deer ticks, are more drawn to pets and you as pass through the woods or in meadows, as this is their most populated habitat.
Lone Star Tick
These ticks like well-manicured lawns and the comfort of indoor living; as a result, these ticks are more aggressive in getting inside buildings. These ticks are found among the wild and domestic animals as well as people. Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Tularemia is commonly transmitted through Lone Star Ticks.
Though less common than the above-mentioned ticks, they are still more common than the others and worth mentioning. Occasionally found on birds, small animals or humans, they are usually very host-specific for groundhogs. Because it tends to feed only on groundhogs, they are not likely to spread disease.
Tick Life Cycle
In general, ticks have four life stages; eggs, larvae, nymph and adult. Laid by the female tick, the eggs can number in the thousands. Once hatched larvae attaches to smaller animals, such as mice and birds. After several days of feeding, they will detach and develop into nymphs, where they attach to a new, larger host, and repeat until they are adults and attach to a new host. With each stage, ticks will start molting and shed their old skin for the next life cycle.
How to Remove a Tick
If you notice you or a pet with a tick, remove it immediately with fine-tipped tweezers, grip the tick as close to the skin as possible and with steady, even pressure, pull it upward; avoid any twisting or jerking because it can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. Dispose of the ticks appropriately. Be sure to wash the wound with warm water and soap. Call a doctor if you develop a rash, fever, headache, or pains.