A stroll through the tall grass or a hike in the woods can inadvertently attract some unwanted stowaways – ticks! These pesky parasitic insects latch onto a host and feed on blood for sustenance. As known carriers of Lyme disease, ticks can pose significant health hazards to their nonconsenting hosts.
But do all ticks carry Lyme disease? And if not, what percentage of ticks carry Lyme disease? Let the insect experts at Mosquito Joe answer all you want to know about ticks and Lyme disease.
Do All Ticks Carry Lyme Disease?
It is often confused that ticks are the originators of Lyme disease when in fact they are just carriers of the disease. The disease itself is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, and following the bite of an infected tick, this bacterium disseminates into the skin surrounding the bite. If left unnoticed or untreated, the bacterium can infect the blood stream and infect the body further from there. Fortunately, not all species of ticks are vectors for Lyme disease.
What Ticks Carry Lyme Disease?
Only two species of ticks serve as vectors for Lyme disease. Both belonging to the genus Ixodes, the blacklegged tick (usually referred to as the deer tick) and the Western blacklegged tick (found west of the Rockies) are transmitters of Lyme disease. Adults of both species are approximately the size of a sesame seed and have reddish-black bodies.
What Percentage of Ticks Carry Lyme Disease?
Your geographic location is an important distinction in determining what percentage of ticks carry Lyme disease. According to a recent study, 50 percent of blacklegged ticks in the Upper Midwest and Northeast carried the disease, whereas in the South and West, only 10 percent were carriers.
Your probability of contracting the disease also depends on the length of feeding. Approximately 24 hours of feeding is required for Lyme disease to transmit, making it important to check for ticks daily and remove any found as soon as possible.
While not all ticks are carriers of Lyme disease, they can be vectors of other diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Mitigate your exposure to ticks by using bug repellent containing DEET, wearing tall socks and pants when outside, and thoroughly checking yourself and pets for unwanted hitchhikers after time outdoors.
For those looking to keep ticks out of your backyard space for good, a pest prevention plan is your best bet. Call Mosquito Joe today at 1-855-275-2563 or request a quote online to protect your backyard space and give both ticks and Lyme disease the boot!
Lyme disease isn’t communicable, but many other sicknesses are easier than you think to protect yourself from. Learn how to stop spreading germs at work from Molly Maid, another member of the Neighborly® family of home service brands.