CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Small, spider-like, and round in size
  • Posterior contains the reproductive organs, legs, and the digestive tract (idiosoma)
  • Anterior consists of the head and mouthparts (capitulum or gnathosoma)
  • 8 legs
  • Ixodidae are hard-shelled ticks
  • Argasidae are soft-shelled ticks
  • Both female and male ticks blood feed and mate off the host

WHAT ATTRACTS TICKS?

  • Damp, shady, bushy, leafy areas where they wait for a person or animal they can attach themselves to
  • Tall, uncut grasses and shrubs
  • Heat
  • Movement
  • Warm areas
  • Moist areas
  • Wooded areas
  • Warm-blooded animals and humans 

EFFECTS OF TICK ACTIVITY ON HUMANS AND ANIMALS:

  • They are important disease-causing agents
  • Ticks transmit the widest diversity of pathogens of any blood-sucking arthropod including bacteria, protozoa, rickettsiae, and viruses
  • Tick-borne pathogens include ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, tularemia, tick-borne relapsing fever, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever

PREVENTION OF TICK BITES:

  • Use insect repellents that contain 20% or more DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on the exposed skin for protection
  • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing
  • Wear light-colored clothing to easily view ticks, if attached
  • Avoid walking away from designated trails into bushy and grassy areas

TREATMENT OF TICK BITES:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove tick from skin. Make sure you pull the tick straight out to avoid breaking the head off of its body. Do not twist the tick and make sure its mouth is not attached to your skin
  • Do not cover tick attached to your skin with petroleum jelly, nail polish, gasoline, or rubbing alcohol as these may increase your chances of infection
  • Wash the area of the tick bite with warm water and mild soap
  • If the bite is irritated, apply an antibiotic ointment or cream, and cover it with a bandage
  • To help relieve pain and itching, apply an ice pack to the bite for about 20 minutes, every hour, for about 6 hours or until itching and pain goes away
  • Nonprescription medicine such as a topical antihistamine, an anesthetic, or calamine lotion may help reduce pain, itching, redness, and swelling