What Should I do If I Am Bitten By A Tick In Houston, TX?
Tick crawling on someone's skin.

What Should I Do If I Am Bitten By A Tick In Houston, TX?

If you’re not worried about ticks in Houston, you should be. According to recent statistics, our state contains some of the highest populations of ticks in the entire country. Thanks to high levels of humidity, growing human numbers, and pushback against wild spaces, more and more dangerous tick varieties are present in the area. 

A great deal of scientific literature regarding ticks reminds Houston residents that parasitic activity is extremely dangerous. It is extremely important to understand just how dangerous pests like ticks can become, particularly if left to their own devices.

Ticks are species of arachnids that are common in the Houston area. Unlike other kinds of pests, ticks are a unique creature that requires a host to survive. The vast majority of ticks in Houston have similar characteristics, although individual attributes are unique. All ticks have eight legs, an oval-shaped body, and curbed leg ‘brackets.’ Tick species usually have some small markings that separate one from another. Certain tick species, especially the Lone Star Tick, have dots, colors, or stripes along their abdomen. Others, such as the deer tick, may have a singular color. In either case, ticks are extremely distinguishable from other pests.

Here are a few other things you should know about tick populations in Houston, TX:

  • Ticks are not considered to be insects. Unlike other Houston bugs, ticks have eight legs and a small pair of biting mandibles. 

  • Ticks are a member of the scientific superorder Parasitiformes. They are technically classified as parasites, although they do not remain paired with a host for long periods of time. 

  • Fully grown adult ticks measure anywhere from 3 to 5 millimeters in size. Depending on the tick’s species, gender, and feeding patterns, their size may be larger or smaller. Ticks that have not fed in a long time may shrink considerably to conserve energy. 

  • Ticks have the ability to latch onto almost any type of creature, including wildlife animals, domestic pets, birds, reptiles, humans, and sometimes amphibians.  

  • The vast majority of ticks in Houston live year-round. Mild winters and warm summer seasons give them the ability to thrive even in 50-degree weather.

We will discuss the nature of these ticks and their many dangers later in this article. For now, you should familiarize yourself with the names and scientific names of the creatures in this blog.

The Dangers Of Houston Ticks Around Homes And Businesses

Despite their small sizes, the ticks native to Houston and the surrounding area are extremely dangerous to home and business owners alike. These arachnids are known for spreading dangerous forms of disease that could injure or otherwise harm humans, pets, and their loved ones. Although many forms of tick disease are treatable, several can lead to chronic health issues, swelling and pain, or extreme hospitalization.

There are nearly 900 tick species that have been identified around the world, almost 100 of which are found in the United States. There are at least 4 different kinds of vector ticks that can be differentiated among other Houston pests and are considered the most dangerous animals on earth by professionals.

Houston home and business owners should be on the lookout for several species of tick throughout the year. Keep these arachnids and their characteristics in mind before leaving home:

  1. The Black-Legged Tick: Interestingly, this species of tick is known to be one of the biggest super-spreaders in the country. Its dark-colored exoskeleton easily identifies this animal.

  2. The American Dog Tick: This species of tick can be found on more than just dogs, capable of spreading diseases to humans, domestic pets, and other Houston locals.

  3. Lone Star Ticks: These arachnids are perhaps the best identified of all tick species in Houston. They are known to attack humans more frequently than any other tick species in northern or eastern America. 

  4. Brown Dog Ticks: This tick species prefers to bite dogs more than humans, although it can and will switch targets on occasion.

Each of these tick varieties is capable of spreading serious illnesses in just a single bite. Although not every tick bite will result in disease transfer, it is important to understand the severe results of a rampant tick infestation. Below is a list of just a few serious tick diseases transferred in the Houston area: 

  • Lyme disease 

  • Q fever 

  • Colorado tick fever (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) 

  • Tularemia 

  • Tick-borne relapsing fever 

  • Babesiosis 

  • Ehrlichiosis 

  • Bourbon virus 

  • Tick-borne meningoencephalitis 

If a tick bites you, it will be important to remove the pest from your skin as soon as possible.

What You Should Do If A Tick In Houston, TX Bites You

Many Houston residents start to panic when they realize a tick has bitten them. Ticks are often still attached to the body when found and are difficult, if not impossible, to remove by hand.

The first step in the tick removal process is not to panic. These arachnids cannot be removed without precision and care, and if you are unable to calm yourself down, you may want to find someone else to complete the procedure.

Before removing the tick from your skin, you will need to gather a few basic materials:

  • A fine point tweezer with a strong grip. If the tongs do not completely touch in the center, they will not be enough to grip or hold the tick in question. 

  • A small bottle, bag, or container of alcohol. Any mixture that is greater than 70% will be strong enough to both kill and preserve the tick. We will discuss the reasons for tick storage later on. 

  • A pair of gloves. It’s a good idea to keep your skin and puncture mark as clean as possible. Wearing gloves helps to increase your overall hygiene and prevent the spread of bacteria or tick-borne illnesses should the arachnid be crushed. 

  • Cotton balls or Q-Tips for rubbing. If you do not have these, use a small piece of cloth, a sponge, or some fabric. 

Once you have all these materials together, you can begin to remove the tick or ticks on your person. 

Start by rubbing the tick with a cotton ball doused in alcohol. This will limit the creature’s ability to breathe and may help to loosen its strong grip. Next, place the tips of the tweezer as close as possible to the head of the tick. As you lift, do not jerk, twist, or yank the tick. To remove its head as well as its body, pull slowly, carefully, and precisely. Do not crush or puncture the tick’s body, if at all possible.

Now that the tick has been completely removed from your body, it will be time to safely store it in a container of alcohol. This is important for two reasons. Number one, it kills the tick completely, ensuring it never bites another person or reproduces with more ticks. Two, it stores the tick for medical professionals in the case of adverse reactions.

Keep a close eye out for signs and symptoms of tick disease after a bite. Consider things that may be shrugged off, including raised temperatures, headaches, nausea, weakness, or fatigue. A small, red, ‘bullseye’ ring may begin to form around the outside of the bite. Should this occur, please seek medical attention as soon as possible. It is much better to be safe than sorry.

Ways To Prevent Ticks From Infesting The Lawn Or Garden

It is important to note that ticks do display infestation behavior around homes and businesses in Houston. Although it is true that ticks are not eusocial animals and do not travel in packs, ticks still know where to find good feeding grounds. If ticks discover a place that is frequently traveled by residents, workers, employees, or wildlife creatures, they may be tempted to settle down for the long haul.

According to recent studies, there are more than 200 million pests for each human living on Earth. As you might expect, this means that there are thousands upon thousands of tick vectors just waiting for a chance to feed on you and your family. If you are concerned about the possibility of a tick infestation in or around your home, you will need to take fast steps to prevent their arrival.

Although tick season is year-round, the best time to start preventative measures is in late fall. The cooler weather will slow down the pest’s internal body temperatures, keeping them from being as active as before. This is where you should begin with the following steps:

  1. Start by cleaning out the yard as much as possible. Trim your grass to a height between 2 ¾ and 3 inches tall. This will keep ticks from burrowing into your lawn in wait of a local passerby. 

  2. Ticks love to overwinter in natural parts of the yard. While you may not be able to eliminate all aspects of lawn wilderness, you may have control over some of the most glaring attributes. Leaf piles should be bagged and removed from lawns frequently. Compost piles should be turned regularly to encourage internal heat and decomposition.

  3. Ticks are vector species that can be spread by a wide variety of pests, including wildlife creatures, birds, lizards, and domestic pets. Address the wildlife creatures by making your habitat less conducive to long-term living. Removing standing water puddles, tie up all garbage bags, and otherwise make your landscape more hostile to unwanted animals. 

  4. All indoor and outdoor pets should be treated with some type of flea or tick remedy. There are many different formats available on the market, each of which you can discuss with your local veterinarian. Topical ointments and oral medications are both available for pets. Some of these are over the counter, while others must be prescribed by a trained vet tech. Flea and tick collars are a safe alternative that does not come into contact with your pet’s nervous system or bloodstream, although they may be less effective. 

  5. Prevention steps can also be applied to both you and your family. Whenever possible, wear long-sleeved clothing and tall socks when in a tick-infested area. It may also be a good idea to put on a hat to protect your head and hair from falling ticks. Tuck your pants into your socks, and apply some sort of tick deterrent to your clothing and shoes. Do not apply these chemicals directly to the skin, as they could be abrasive and painful to sensitive users.

Preventative controls are a great way to keep ticks from infesting the yard during its most susceptible seasons. However, it is important to note that prevention is not the same as treatment. If your home is already suffering from the effects of tick activity, or if you are concerned that ticks may already be present around the home or garden, prevention will no longer be an available option.

With both do-it-yourself (DIY) tactics and home remedies off the table, the next best solution against tick activity is trusting the team at Modern Pest Control.

Why Modern Pest Control Has The Best & Most Efficient Tick Control Plan In Houston, TX

The best way to control tick populations around your property is with the professional assistance of Modern Pest Control. For over seventy years, our team has been striving to meet all expectations with a friendly wave, a competent smile, and a professional perspective in all pest situations.

If you are struggling against tick concerns in your home or business, Modern Pest Control has the tools you need to thrive. Each of our flea and tick abatement programs come with the following features:

  • Regular seasonal treatments 

  • Affordable on-call solutions 

  • Integrated property inspections 

Learn more about Modern Pest Control and the relief we can bring to your Houston home or business. Call today to get connected with a team near you.

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