What You Need To Know About Ticks

Are There Ticks In Texas?

Unfortunately, yes. Though many species of ticks are benign, some of them pose serious threats to those they bite. Most ticks are active during the spring, summer, and fall months. Ticks in Houston and the greater metropolitan area carry diseases such as Lyme, Stari, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

The explosion of ticks and associated diseases in the United States is a relatively new phenomenon. Ongoing studies surrounding diagnosis and treatment of many of these diseases have yet to provide a fool-proof vaccination or cure; therefore, Texas residents need to educate themselves about tick species, tick prevention, and how to treat a tick bite. 

Common Texas Tick Species

Lone Star Ticks

This tick bears the name of the Lone Star State and can be found throughout the south and eastern United States. An unfed female lone star tick is 3 to 4 mm in length, has a brown body and legs, and remarkably, has a single white or yellow mark on its back. Male ticks are smaller and have small white lines around the circumference of their bodies.

Female lone star ticks are aggressive biters at every phase of their lives, as they’re constantly searching for a host to provide them with the necessary nutrients to lay their eggs. The disease most associated with these ticks in Texas is STARI, which is an illness that can lead to a lifelong allergy to red meat. However, they are also suspected to carry other diseases that warrant concern. 

Black-legged Ticks

This tick species ranges from 3-5 mm in length and has black legs.  Males have an entirely black body whereas females have a black circle on its back surrounded by an orange crescent. Like other ticks in Texas, this tick is most likely to bite during the spring, summer, and autumn months, but may be active in winter as long as temperatures remain above freezing. Most notably, this tick species is responsible for spreading Lyme disease. In its early stages, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics; However, if misdiagnosed or untreated, it can lead to many lifelong health complications.

Brown Dog Ticks

An unfed brown dog tick is approximately 3 mm long but is able to grow to be 12 mm when engorged. This Texas tick has a dark body with brown legs. As its name implies, the brown dog tick targets canines. It rarely feeds on humans. However, it will transfer diseases such as ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever to dogs. Unlike most species of tick found in Texas, this tick is most likely to become a household pest because it can complete its entire life cycle indoors. 

American Dog Ticks

These ticks are brown in color with yellowish or gray markings along its back. They are around 5 mm in size unfed and 15 mm when engorged. While this tick prefers the scent of animals, they will bite humans, especially during the spring and summer months. These ticks are known to carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. 

Tips for Preventing Texas Tick Bites 

Protecting yourself and your loved ones from ticks should be part of your routine before going outdoors. Remember:

  • Ticks are small, especially ticks that have not reached their adult stage of development. They are so small that a single field mouse can have as many as 100 ticks feeding on its body. That makes rodents a vector for tick-borne diseases inside homes. If you have a rodent problem, it is vital to contact an exterminator as soon as possible.
  • Tick diseases don't transfer immediately. If you find a tick that is feeding, proper removal can prevent the spread of disease. If you do not have a tick removal kit, use tweezers to carefully pull the tick straight out by pinching near the head.
  • Ticks hang out in shaded, moist areas near shrubs, bushes, and external structures. Exercising tick control in your Houston, TX home involves treatment of these areas by a licenced pest control technician. This will significantly reduce the threat of ticks.
  • Ticks do not come into your home on their own. They find their way inside by attaching them to a host such as a pet or a human. Tick control in your yard will reduce the likelihood of ticks entering your home. 
  • Pet owners are at greater risk for tick-borne diseases. Make sure your pets have veterinarian-prescribed tick control products and consider creating a fenced area for your pets. This will keep your pets from getting to tall, grassy areas on the edge of your property (where ticks hide) and prevent wildlife from getting into that area. Ticks don't come into your yard, they are carried in by furry animals and birds.
  • If you have bird feeders, you may be unknowingly increasing your risk of tick-borne diseases.
  • Any conditions that lure wildlife into your yard, like unsecured trash, will increase your chances of having a tick infestation.
  • Lastly, be sure to always check your body for ticks after spending time outdoors. If you have children, teach them proper tick checking techniques. 

If you live in Texas, find out if you're in our service area. Modern Pest Control offers industry-leading solutions for tick management. While it is not possible to guarantee a tick-free yard, with the right tick-control protocols it is possible to greatly reduce tick populations. 

Our solutions for tick control in the greater Houston metropolitan area and beyond begins with an inspection of your property by one of our licensed exterminators. Then, he or she will work with you to develop and implement a plan for long-term tick control.  

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