How to Detect Ticks: Can You Feel a Tick Bite?

When temperatures begin to rise, tick bites become a concern for families who enjoy outdoor activities. In fact, any time temperatures reach above 40 degrees, ticks become more active. So, hiking, camping, going to the beach, and even enjoying a barbecue in the backyard can be interrupted by a tick bite. Detecting a tick early and removing the tick properly from the bite area is crucial to preventing tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

What do ticks feel like? Can you feel a tick bite? If you can’t feel a tick, how can you detect and remove ticks to avoid illness? Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself, your family, and your pets with essential tick bite detection and prevention.

Can You Feel a Tick on You?

Can you feel ticks on your body? Unfortunately, the answer in many cases is no. So, what do ticks feel like? When ticks are in the nymph stage during spring and early summer, they’re the size of a poppy seed, making them nearly impossible to feel. Even when they bite, you won’t feel a tick nymph, yet they are the ticks most likely to transmit Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections.

If you can’t feel a tick bite, how do you know if you’ve been bitten? Detecting ticks or nymphs requires super-close visual examination. Even then, a tick can be in a place you can’t see on your own. They like to bite the back of your neck or the top of your scalp. That’s why it’s wise to have a friend or loved one help you scan your body for ticks after being outside, especially in places on your body that you can’t see.

As ticks grow, it may be easier to feel them moving on your skin, but there’s no guarantee. A tick crawling on your body can feel like a very slight tickle—it’s a sensation that can be easily missed if you aren’t purposefully checking for them. You’re more likely to find a tick by seeing it crawling on you or someone else.

Not only are you unlikely to feel a tick or nymph moving on you, but you can’t feel a tick bite. Even once the tick bites and embeds itself into your skin, you’re unlikely to feel it. The bite doesn’t hurt, itch, or burn. While the tick feeds on your blood, its body begins to swell, making it easier to spot and locate. A tactile search is one way to find or feel a tick on you. Search by running your hands lightly over the areas of your body where ticks are likely to crawl or bite, including:

  • Under the arms
  • Inside the belly button
  • On the back of the knees
  • In and around the ears
  • Between legs
  • On the scalp or in your hair

What Does a Tick Look Like?

Since you cannot feel a tick bite or even a tick crawling on you, it’s important to look for them visually. But what do ticks look like?

Ticks are arachnids, and they look a lot like the spiders and mites they are related to. Tick eggs look a lot like red caviar, and the hatchlings and nymphs look like minuscule spiders or mites. A hungry tick has a flat body with a teardrop shape. The head is at the more pointed end of the body. Tiny tick larvae have just six legs, while nymphs and adult ticks have eight. Once a tick bites, it embeds in the skin, attaching through a barbed feeding tube. The feeding process includes injecting the host with a mild painkiller, so you cannot feel the tick bite, attach or feed.

As the tick feasts on its host blood, the tick’s body swells enormously. An adult female tick can swell up to 200 times her original body size as she drinks blood. She may swell to half an inch long, making her much easier to spot.

Related Topic: What Are the Best Essential Oils to Repel Ticks?

What Does a Tick Bite Feel Like?

Unlike bites from mosquitoes and other bugs, tick bites do not typically cause immediate skin irritation or itching sensation. When it embeds itself in your skin, the tick injects its saliva, which contains a numbing agent called kinases, enabling the insect to avoid detection while it feeds on its host.

You can’t feel a tick bite when it bites you. Many individuals with Lyme disease were unaware they experienced a tick bite until symptoms of the disease emerged well after the tick was gone. What does a tick bite look and feel like? The answer depends on the type of tick and your specific physical reaction.

Tick bite lesions can vary in appearance, size, and sensation. In most cases, a bite that does not transmit a tick-borne illness will resemble a mosquito bite without extensive itching or pain. It is a small red bump that will fade within a couple of days.

Since you cannot feel a tick bite, it’s good to know what the bites look like. Here are some of the different tick bite lesions and reactions that are cause for concern:

  • Redness or rash around the skin indicates inflammation and possible infection.
  • Bulls-eye rash—a telltale sign of a tick bite; this can signal a potential infection of Lyme disease.
  • Bite area with a tick still attached and its head burrowed into the skin.
  • Fever, chills, aches, and pains, can be signs of a tick-borne illness.

Related Topic: How to Properly Check and Remove Ticks from Your Pets

If you notice any of the signs or symptoms listed above or find a tick attached to you, contact a medical professional who will have the proper tools to remove the tick safely. Once removed, professionals can test the tick for disease to ensure you receive any necessary treatment. If medical attention is difficult to reach, learn how to remove a tick safely.

Contact Us for Effective Tick Control

Contact your local Mosquito Joe to keep ticks at bay and your family and pets safe. In addition to trust-worthy mosquito control service, our service professionals will provide an effective, long-lasting barrier treatment to keep ticks out of your yard for up to thirty days. To learn more about our pest control services, including our natural barrier treatments, call 1-855-275-2563 or request an estimate online today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ticks

Why are there so many ticks?

Ticks are not a new threat, but as their population and habitat continue to grow and expand, the potential threat to humans and animals increases. Climate change plays a part in rising tick populations. And as more forests and wooded land is developed into housing and shopping districts, the areas where ticks once lived in isolation are gone. The combination of a rising tick population and people moving into their traditional habitat increases the chances that you will encounter ticks.

Where are ticks most commonly found?
Ticks live in areas where hosts are plentiful. This includes wooded areas, meadows, and marshes. You can also encounter ticks at the beach, particularly along walkways from the hills overlooking the water, down past heavy vegetation to the sand. Nearly anywhere there is sufficient vegetation, you will find ticks.

How to identify a tick bite?
It’s essential to recognize a tick bite, so you can remove the tick and seek treatment if the bite becomes infected. But a tick bite looks like a small red swollen area, similar to other insect bites. It may have been bitten by a tick bite if:

  • There is only one bite. Mosquitoes and fleas often bite multiple times.
  • The red swelling at the bite site has a small black dot at the center.
  • The red swelling has a hardened center.
  • A bull’s eye rash forms. If the red swelling is surrounded by unaffected skin, that is ringed with a red circle. This is the characteristic appearance of a tick bite that transmitted Lyme disease.
  • A rash forms at the site of the bite and is accompanied by fever, body aches, sore joints, swollen lymph nodes, and lethargy.

Do Ticks Breed on Dogs?

Ticks might not only carry diseases that may affect you and your pet, but they can also breed on your dog. A tick on your pet can eventually lead to an infestation on your furry friend and in your home. By being vigilant and interrupting the mating cycle, you can help keep your dog happy and healthy.

How Do Ticks Breed?

Ticks can breed quickly and are sometimes hard to spot, making tick infestations such a common problem in tick-prone areas. It can start with your dog when they venture outside or during a walk in a grassy or wooded area. Though the breeding process can vary by tick species, these general steps can take from weeks to months, depending on conditions in your area:

  1. The ticks wait on blades of grass or other plants for a passing host. They can’t jump, so they attach to a host when the animal (usually a small animal such as a rodent) brushes by wherever they’re lying in wait.
  2. The tick feeds on this initial host, sometimes for several days, before dropping to the ground.
  3. The tick molts, becoming a nymph, then lies waiting for a second host. They prefer smaller hosts such as rabbits or raccoons at this stage. They’ll feed, drop to the ground, and molt again, becoming adult ticks.
  4. The tick will wait for a third host. At this stage, they prefer large hosts such as deer and dogs. If they attach to your dog, they will feed, breed if possible, and can even lay eggs on your dog that will hatch into larvae. Those larvae will feed on your dog, and the cycle will begin again.

How Do Dogs Get Ticks?

Some things attract or harbor ticks, and it’s worth keeping them in mind. If you can eliminate these things from your yard, you can reduce the chance that you’ll have a tick problem.

  • Tall grass and overgrown plants: These can harbor ticks and give them easy access to your dog and the rest of your family.
  • Leaf piles: Since these areas are also prime spots for ticks to hide and breed, keeping them clear can reduce the number of spots ticks like to gather.
  • Animal and Bird Feeders: Ticks are often found in areas because they can attach themselves to the rodents who eventually come to eat the birdseed or other feed. They wait for an animal to come by and attach to them while they feed.

Of course, you can’t eliminate every plant in your yard, and rodents are a fact of life in many areas. But getting rid of these more obvious hiding places is a good start.

Related Topic: How to Check Dog for Ticks

What Do Ticks Do to Dogs?

Aside from breeding on your dog, ticks also feed on your dog’s blood, which creates a new set of concerns:

  • Too many ticks feeding on your dog can weaken the dog, causing lethargy and general discomfort.
  • Ticks can carry Lyme disease, which can also infect your family.
  • The breeding cycle can continue, causing a worse infestation over time.

Knowing what to do if your dog has a tick will help mitigate these issues. Checking the dog over regularly, especially along their back, legs, and hind end, is a good idea and will help you spot ticks before they cause too much irritation. Remove them using tweezers and pluck them out as close to the dog’s skin as possible. Be careful when using a tweezer to remove ticks; make sure you completely remove the tick from your dog and that you’re not leaving the tick’s head or part of its body behind. You can also purchase flea and tick repellent sprays to protect your dog.

Do Ticks Lay Eggs on Dogs?

If not found and removed right away, ticks that breed on your dog will sometimes lay eggs on them as well. The larvae that hatch from those eggs have a very convenient feeding source: your dog’s blood. This can affect your dog’s health, and that of your family, in a variety of ways. The easiest way to reduce the risks that come with ticks is to prevent your dog from getting ticks in the first place. While this isn’t easy, it is possible with the help of your neighborhood Mosquito Joe.

Related Topic: How to Remove a Tick from a Dog

Protect Your Dog and Family from Ticks

As ticks continue to extend their habitat across the U.S., the potential for tick and mosquito-borne diseases has also grown. One of the best ways to deal with this potential threat is to take preventative steps to protect your family and your pets. Your local pest control pros at Mosquito Joe can help. We offer traditional and natural barrier sprays that effectively help keep pests, like ticks and mosquitoes away, for up to thirty days. To learn more or to get started, call us at 1-855-275-2563 or schedule an appointment online today.


Invasive Insects in the US

Invasive bugs are a huge problem in the United States. According to Entomology Today, the economic impact of invasive insects is more than $30 billion each year. These pests can degrade, change, or even displace native habitats and cause all kinds of disruptions for other wildlife.

And when it comes to you and your yard, invasive bugs are a big inconvenience. While some invasive insects like stinkbugs are harmless, they can end up everywhere­—including your underwear drawer! Other invasive bugs, like termites, could do real damage to your home. Any kind of invasive insect is a nuisance. By learning more about them, you can better take control of your space.

Common Types of Invasive Bugs

These are some of the most common invasive insects in North America:

  • Several types of moths, like the leek moth and cactus moth
  • Wooly adelgids
  • Asian tiger mosquitoes
  • Several types of fruit flies, black flies, and sawflies
  • Termites
  • Earwigs
  • Stinkbugs
  • Mealybugs
  • Spotted Lantern Flies

There are so many other invasive bugs in the states, including many types of beetles, borers, scale bugs, wasps, flies and ants. It’s worth researching an insect if it seems to be destroying plants and trees on your property, or your house.

Wait … Are Mosquitoes Invasive?

When you’re thinking of bugs that are a nuisance, mosquitoes are probably the first ones to jump to mind. But are mosquitoes invasive? Actually, yes, there are species of invasive mosquitoes. The Asian tiger mosquito and the yellow fever mosquito are both examples of invasive mosquitoes that have snuck into North America in hiding spots like used car tires. Typically, these types of invasive mosquitoes prefer warmer areas like southern California.

The mosquitoes that most US households deal with are the Aedes mosquito, the Anopheles mosquito, and the Culex mosquito. Since an invasive bug is defined as a species that was introduced to an area where they don’t naturally occur, these mosquitoes are not technically invasive. But they sure are annoying!

Related Topic: Preventing and Eliminating a Basement Insect Problem

Tick Invasion: What to Look For

While it’s normal to find a tick from time to time while you’re outside, finding them consistently could point to a problem. Ticks are tiny, parasitic bugs that generally live in wooded areas and fields. They need human or animal blood to survive and can be carriers of serious diseases, like Lyme disease. When you suspect you have a tick invasion (because they are frequently showing up on you or your pets), act fast so they don’t get inside of your house, where they could survive for a while. An effective way to get rid of these creepy creatures is to have your yard professionally sprayed for ticks during their most active months. You can also keep your grass and trees trimmed and try to weed your garden regularly to deter ticks.

While ticks often burrow under hair before biting their victims, they also attach themselves to other areas of the body, like:

  • Under the knees
  • Under the arms
  • The groin area
  • Inside or around the ears
  • Inside the belly button
  • The base of the neck

During tick season, which is any time of year when temperatures stay above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, be sure to check these areas on yourself and your kids. And don’t forget to check your pets regularly too!

Professional Invasive Species Control

As a homeowner, there isn’t much you can do to prevent invasive insects from migrating to your area. What you can do is prevent them from taking up residence in your own backyard and jeopardizing the safety of you and your family. At Mosquito Joe, our mission is to help homeowners take back the outdoors. Our traditional and natural barrier sprays effectively keep pests away for up to thirty days, which can make the time you and your family spend outdoor fun again! To learn more, or to get started, give us a call at 1-855-275-2563or request an estimate online today.


How to Repel Ticks on Dogs Naturally

There are nearly one million positive cases of Lyme disease in dogs every year. Lyme disease is transmitted through bacteria from a tick bite, which your dog could get in grassy or wooded areas. If Lyme disease is untreated, it can lead to damage to the kidneys, nervous system, and heart, and can even be fatal.

So, pet owners go to great lengths to prevent tick bites on their dogs. For many dogs, the ideal topical tick preventative may be the synthetic, topical formula recommended by veterinarians. It contains fipronil, a powerful chemical used to kill adult fleas and ticks on animal fur. But just like people, some dogs have very sensitive skin. So, those harsher chemical tick repellents can cause itching, irritation, and even skin lesions on pets. For this reason, many dog owners choose to use gentler, natural products. But which options work?

Related Topic: What to Do If a Tick Head Is Stuck in Your Skin

Four Natural Tick Repellents for Dogs

Don’t forget to consult your veterinarian before using any of these products on your pet. They may suggest testing a product on a small portion of your dog’s skin before using it all over.

  1. Store-Bought Formulas: There are many pre-mixed natural tick repellents for dogs on the market, all with differing ingredients. Many of these contain essential oils. Be sure to read the instructions, as some products may require dilution before you apply them to your pet.
  2. Homemade Essential Oil Tick Repellent for Dogs: Essential oil tick repellent for dogs is also a popular choice of pet owners looking to keep their dogs protected in the warmer months. The essential oil commonly used to repel ticks on dogs is lavender oil. It has a sweet, calming scent that is attractive to humans and dogs but loathed by bugs like fleas and ticks. Amazingly, lavender oil also prevents tick eggs from hatching. You may have heard that lemongrass is a good tick repellent for dogs, but it could upset your dog’s stomach if they licked it, so it’s generally not recommended as a topical treatment.
  3. Natural Tick Spray for Your Yard: One of the best ways to prevent ticks on your dogs—and on your other family members—is to keep ticks from coming to your yard in the first place. Mosquito Joe can help with that! Using our natural tick treatment on strategic areas of your yard, we’ll make sure no pesky ticks can bother your fur babies.
  4. Reduction of Tick Habitat: Eliminate tick breeding grounds in your garden and lawn by cleaning up debris they might hide in. Mosquito Joe will provide some guidance for this if you’re already having us spray for ticks outside. Additionally, your local landscape professional can help you with lawn and bed maintenance, landscaping, and more.

So, those are the four major ways to repel ticks that might bother your pets. Here are more details about the homemade option.

How to Make Your Own Tick Repellent

You may think a DIY tick repellent for dogs would be tricky, but it’s quite easy to make your own! Here’s a method you can try at home with the approval of your veterinarian:

  • Thinly slice a lemon into a large glass jar.
  • Boil a quart of water, and slowly pour it over the sliced lemon. Let the mixture steep overnight.
  • Strain the lemon water into a glass spray bottle, filling it about half-full. Save any remaining water for later.
  • Add 1 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • Add ten drops of lavender oil. Shake it up and put it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
  • To use it, lightly spray the mixture on your dog’s fur, using your hand to work it in. Avoid spraying it around your pet’s eyes and mouth. Apply the spray every two hours when your dog is outside.

Pull Out All the Stops to Keep Ticks Away

Your dog is a member of the family, and you want to protect your whole family from ticks. While you might try any of these natural methods for tick repellent, the most effective plan is to use a combination of all these things: a topical (vet-approved) treatment, a professional yard treatment, and tick habitat removal. You can trust Mosquito Joe for professional yard treatment and advice about habitat removal. We’re experienced and equipped with a proprietary, all-natural formula that works for weeks. To get started, give us a call at 1-855-275-2563 or request a quote online.


What to Do If a Tick Head Is Stuck in Your Skin

First, try not to panic. The head itself, after it’s been broken off, cannot transmit disease, and a broken-off tick can usually be removed easily.

Start by washing your hands and then cleaning the area around the tick bite with rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab.

After you’ve cleaned your skin, here’s how to remove a tick head:

  1. Grasp the tick head with sterile, fine-tipped tweezers.
  2. Firmly pull the tick head straight out, not at an angle.
  3. If you couldn’t remove it with tweezers, sterilize a needle with rubbing alcohol.
  4. Use the needle to gently widen the hole where the head is embedded.
  5. Use the tweezers again to pull the head out.

You don’t need to save the tick head for disease testing, as the body of the tick is all that’s necessary for a thorough test. However, if the tick’s body was attached to you for more than 24 hours, you should monitor for symptoms of Lyme disease for about a month.

So now you know how to get a tick head out, but what if you don’t notice that the head is there for a while?

What Happens If the Tick’s Head Stays in Your Skin?

If a tick head is stuck in human or animal skin for a prolonged period, the risk of tick-borne disease isn’t increased, but the risk of infection is. If you’re unable to remove the head yourself, ask your doctor to remove it for you as soon as possible.

Will a tick head eventually come out on its own? Usually, the answer is yes, but the body is unpredictable. Ultimately, you should never leave pieces of a tick on, or under, your skin.

Related Topic: What Percentage of Ticks Carry Lyme Disease?

How to Tell if a Tick Head Is Still in Your Skin

If a tick head is still in your skin, it should be visible to the naked eye. What does a tick head look like in the skin? It typically looks like a small, dark-colored fleck. It may look like a splinter if it’s just the tick’s mouthparts. For an additional sign of a tick head still being stuck, you may also inspect the tick’s body to see if it looks like pieces of the head broke off.

How Can You Prevent This From Happening Again?

Because ticks can carry numerous diseases, including Lyme, most people want to stay as far away from them as possible. But their populations are high, they’re resistant to cold, and they’re very good at finding a host.

What are the best ways to make sure that that host isn’t you or a loved one?

  • Wear protective clothing when you’re outside.
  • Check for ticks after being outdoors (especially when in high grass or wooded areas).
  • Keep landscaping well maintained (shrubs trimmed and grass mowed).

Mosquito Joe offers a range of tick control services, from proven barrier spray treatments to our natural formulas that can help minimize the risk of exposure to ticks around the perimeter of your home. To learn more about the variety of services we offer, give us a call at 1-855-275-2563 or request a quote today!