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

 
As the temperatures warm up, tick bites become a concern for families who enjoy outdoor activities. 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.

But how does a tick bite look and feel? And what are the best ways to detect and remove ticks to avoid illness? Here’s what you need to know to keep your family and pets safe through 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. 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. Detecting them requires super-close examination, and, even then, a tick can be in a place you can’t see on your own. That’s why it’s wise to have a friend or loved one scan for ticks after being outside, especially in places on your body that you can’t see.

As ticks grow larger, 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 slight tickle—it’s a sensation that can be easily missed if you aren’t checking for them. You’re more likely to find it by seeing it crawling on you or on someone else.

To feel a tick on you (especially after it’s bitten you and is embedded on your skin), run your hands 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

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. At the site of the bite, the tick injects its saliva, which contains a numbing agent called kinases, enabling the insect to avoid detection while it feeds on human blood. So, you may not feel a thing at the moment a tick bites you. Many individuals with Lyme disease were not even aware they experienced the bite until symptoms of the disease emerged well after the tick was gone.

So how does a tick bite look and feel? The answer depends on the type of tick and your personal reaction. Lesions can vary in appearance, size, and feeling. In most cases, a bite that does not carry a tick-borne illness will resemble a mosquito bite without extensive itching or pain and will fade within a couple of days.

Here are some of the different tick bites and reactions that are cause for concern:

  • Redness or rash around the skin indicating inflammation and possible infection
  • Bulls-eye rash—a telltale sign of a tick bite; this can indicate 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 have a tick attached to you, contact a medical professional who will have the proper tools to remove the tick safely. Once removed, the tick can be tested for disease to ensure you receive any necessary treatment.

One way to keep ticks at bay and your family and pets safe are to contact your local Mosquito Joe. 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 today or request an estimate online today.

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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.

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Think Your Pet Has Lyme Disease? Here’s What To Do

 
Did you know that all Lyme disease is transmitted via tick bite? And while ticks may not be able to jump or fly, they love to crawl around in the grass and shrubs where your pets play. In fact, five of the ten diseases that ticks transmit to humans can also be transmitted to pets. So, if your pet carries an infected tick into your home, you could end up getting bit and even infected with Lyme disease. With the transmission of Lyme disease on the rise, it’s vital to know how to identify and treat it if you suspect your pet is infected. We’ll also share some tips on how you can protect yourself and your pets from getting infected.  

 What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an infectious tick-borne disease caused by the bacteria borrelia burgdorferi. It can be transmitted to both pets and humans through the bite of an infected black-legged tick, also known as a “deer tick.” These ticks are usually no bigger than a poppy seed, which makes them almost impossible to spot. Both dogs and cats can be infected with Lyme disease, but it’s more commonly found in dogs. Once bitten, the bacteria enters the skin, where it eventually makes its way into the bloodstream. From there, if left untreated, the bacteria can spread to the joints, the heart, and even the nervous system.  

Lyme disease is present throughout the United States, but it’s more common in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Northwestern states. While it’s highly unlikely that you would pick up an infected tick walking on a busy city street in one of these areas, you may pick one up if you live or spend time in rural areas. Tallgrass and wooded locations, places your pets probably like to run and play, are the prime hangout for these disease-carrying insects. 

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

 Symptoms of Lyme Disease 

An infected tick needs to be attached for a minimum of 24-36 hours in order to transmit Lyme disease to your cat or dog. So just because your pet got bit by a tick doesn’t necessarily mean they have been infected with Lyme disease. This is why it’s so important to check your pet for ticks after they have spent time outdoors, especially if they have been in areas that have been identified as prime tick locations. If you routinely check your pet when they come in from outside and identify that they have been bitten, you can still safely remove the tick before any infection enters their body.  

If you suspect that your pet was bitten by a tick and has been infected with Lyme disease, keep an eye out for these symptoms: fever, lethargy, stiff or swollen joints, excessive salivation, decreased appetite, on and off lameness, and reduced energy. If left untreated, symptoms can progress to kidney failure or neurological damage. An untreated infection can also be fatal, so all infections should be taken seriously. In addition, a tick that is left untreated will eventually fall off its original host and can reinfect other pets or family members. 

 What to Do If You Suspect Lyme Disease 

Lyme disease is highly treatable if it’s discovered early enough. So, time is definitely of the essence when it comes to detection. However, problems can arise when a pet that has contracted Lyme disease doesn’t show symptoms. In many cases, obvious signs and symptoms of Lyme disease don’t appear until several months after the initial bite.  

If you discover a tick on your pet or suspect your pet has contracted Lyme disease, call your vet immediately. Your veterinarian will run the proper tests and begin administering antibiotics immediately to fight the disease. For dogs, the two blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease are called the C6 Test and Quant C6 test. Your vet should be able to perform both. If your pet tests positive for Lyme disease, make sure all the other pets in your household are checked as well. With proper treatment, your pet should be feeling better and return to normal within 3-4 weeks, with few or no long-term effects!  

 Related Topics: What’s in Natural Mosquito Yard Sprays and Do They Really Work? 

 Prevention is Your Best Defense 

Although Lyme disease can be a scary situation for pet owners, there are some things you can do to protect yourself and your pets from exposure. The best protection is obviously to avoid getting bitten in the first place. However, pets like to roam and explore, and we can’t keep ourselves or our beloved pets in a bubble. So, the next best thing you can do to protect yourself and your pets is to be vigilant when it comes to ticks. Always examine your pets thoroughly for ticks after they have been outdoors. Try to keep your grass under 6” long. If necessary, mow it consistently so ticks will have a harder time hiding and taking up residence in areas where you and your pets spend time. Also, ticks are attached to areas that are overgrown with shrubs or that have wood or branches on the ground. So, keep any piles of wood you may store for a fireplace as far away from your home as possible. Some topical flea and tick collars, shampoos, and other over-the-counter products can be effective at keeping ticks off your pets for a limited amount of time. Just be sure to check that the label says it’s safe for your pets.  

One of the best ways to protect you, your family, and your pets from ticks this season is to call to Mosquito Joe. We offer another layer of protection against mosquitoes, ticks and flies that will help you stress less and enjoy more of the great outdoors. You can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting your pets and loved ones from ticks and tick-borne illnesses. Don’t forget to ask about our natural insect barrier treatment. 

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Best Ways to Protect Kids and Pets from Ticks This Fall

Fall is a favorite season for many people. The crisp air and the cooler weather bring up many feelings of nostalgia and happiness. However, fall also brings an unwelcome addition: ticks. Ticks are a problem in many areas of the United States and can be a serious public health issue. Knowing how to protect you, your kids, and your pets from these parasites can help you enjoy your autumn months much more.  

In this article, we have laid out how you can protect your family from ticks. By taking some extra precautions, you can be sure that everyone enjoys the fall season and without worrying about dealing with these pests.  

Protect Your Kids 

One of the best ways to protect your kids and yourself from ticks in the fall is to dress appropriately. Ticks can only latch onto bare skin. If you have long sleeves and pants, you don’t have to worry about them getting onto your arms or legs. Tucking your kids’ pant legs into their socks can be a great way to ensure that no ticks get in between the gap on a long hike. Light clothing is also highly recommended if they are going to be walking in an area that could be a habitat for ticks. It is much easier to see insects if they get on light clothes, and the kids won’t accidentally bring them into the house.  

You can also use a natural insect repellent like citronella or peppermint. These essential oils are a great way to keep ticks and other pests away when on a hike. Before anyone comes back into the house, though, always make sure that you do a thorough tick check all over their body to ensure that they are clear.  

Protect Your Pets 

Pets provide a perfect environment for ticks. They have long fur that is easy to hide in and it’s a lot harder to control where they go. Dogs and cats will often walk through tall grass, which is where ticks like to live and hide. This makes them much more likely to pick up one of these parasites. One way to protect your pet from ticks is to keep them away from tall grass, weeds, and any overgrown shrubbery. If they do happen to wander into such areas, check them thoroughly for ticks using a pet comb. Also, perform a close visual inspection before bringing them into the house. 

Check your pets starting at their head. Then, move down their body combing through their fur with your fingers. If you see a tick and it has latched on, don’t try to pull it out right away with your fingers. Use a pair of tweezers and grab it by the body, making sure to completely remove it. Then, place the tick in rubbing alcohol to make sure it is dead.  

Related Topic: How to Reduce Bugs in Your Yard After Heavy Rain 

Protect Your Yard 

You can safeguard your yard from ticks by preparing it in a few different ways. Ticks like to hide in woodpiles, so keep any firewood stock away from areas where pets or kids play. Ticks also live on deer, so if you have deer in your area, it’s a good idea to plant deer-resistant flowers like snapdragons and marigolds.  

Other ways to protect your yard from ticks include keeping your grass mowed and trimmed and removing any fallen leaves from the yard. Being generally wary of any thick vegetation in the fall is a good rule of thumb, and if you keep your kids and pets away from it, they will have a much better chance of staying tick-free throughout the season.  

tick-prevention-map

Get Professional Tick Prevention 

Following all the steps above is a great start to protecting your family from ticks and the diseases they can potentially carry. The final step to tick prevention is professional help from Mosquito Joe. Our technicians can set up barriers that target shrubbery and other vegetation in your yard and keep these nasty pests away from your kids and pets.  

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How to Prevent Lyme Disease

Ticks are an unavoidable nuisance in the United States. They live in nearly every state, and bites happen throughout the year when the temperature is above freezing. Unfortunately, tick bites can cause Lyme disease. This potentially debilitating illness is often difficult to diagnose and sometimes even more challenging to treat.

But there are ways to keep you and your family protected from bites. If you want to know how to prevent Lyme disease, keep reading.

First, What Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the black-legged tick. It causes a range of symptoms, but most patients report feeling extreme fatigue and bad headaches. Fever and rashes are also common. In some instances, the patient may develop more chronic conditions of the heart, bones, or nervous system. Antibiotics can treat and cure Lyme disease, but it may take several courses and must be started soon after the disease is contracted. Some people will continue to experience symptoms long-term.

How do you get Lyme disease? Black-legged ticks, sometimes called deer ticks, infect a host after a prolonged bite. The bacteria transmits from the tick’s mouth into the victim’s bloodstream. While black-legged ticks can carry the bacteria, not all of them do. And a short bite (where the tick is detected and removed only a few hours after being attached) is not likely to cause an infection. The risk of catching Lyme disease is highest if the tick remains attached to its host for over 36 hours.

Tips for How to Avoid Lyme Disease

Even though it’s impossible to eradicate all ticks in the world, you can follow these tick tips and tricks to avoid catching Lyme disease.

Here are the easiest ways to prevent bites when you head outdoors:

  • Dress for the Occasion

Ticks only bite bare skin—they can’t reach you through layers of clothing. When heading outdoors, cover up as much skin as possible. Even in the middle of the summer, it’s best to wear long sleeves and full hiking pants. Tuck in your shirt and pull your socks over your pant legs to close any gaps. Hiking boots are better than sneakers, and you should always avoid sandals.

Many experts recommend wearing light-colored clothing. The idea is that if a tick does crawl on you, it’s easier to see it against a brighter background. However, ticks dislike dark colors and are more attracted to light hues.

  • Spray from Head to Toe

Over-the-counter insect repellents are a great way to keep ticks away. Ticks don’t like products that contain DEET or Picaridin. However, you shouldn’t spray DEET on children. Instead, you can try a natural repellent such as sprays that include citronella or peppermint essential oils. Apply a generous coating on all exposed skin and clothing. Reapply as needed.

  • Don’t Venture into the Woods

Deer ticks love hiding in wooded environments, and their orange-brown bodies provide them with the perfect camouflage. Avoid sitting on fallen branches, woodpiles, or even the ground. Ticks don’t like sunlight, so staying on the trail is better than heading into the dark, cold woods.

  • Perform a Thorough “Tick Check”

When returning indoors, check your clothing and body for ticks. If possible, have someone else lend a hand, and inspect all children for ticks. Ticks like to hide, and since they’re so small—especially early in the season before they grow to full size, you may miss them. You will definitely feel an adult-sized tick if you come across it with your fingers.

Be sure to inspect these common hiding spots:

  • Your hairline and scalp
  • Between fingers and toes
  • Behind your ears
  • In your armpits
  • Near the groin

Remove your clothes as soon as possible after returning home and toss them into the washer. Hot water will eliminate any ticks in your clothes that may not have had a chance to attach themselves to your skin. And if you do find a tick, carefully remove it with tweezers.

Worried About Ticks in Your Backyard?

There may be ticks living in your lawn, but you don’t want to find out the hard way. Lyme disease prevention always begins at home. Another great way to avoid Lyme disease is to have Mosquito Joe set up a spray-treatment barrier in your yard. This treatment works on fleas and mosquitoes, too!

Ready to say goodbye to ticks? Connect with us online or call 1-855-275-2563 to schedule a barrier treatment.


Is your yard an overgrown haven for tick-carrying animals? Get in touch with the trusted landscaping professionals at The Grounds Guys, a fellow Neighborly® company.

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