What are ticks?

Ticks are ectoparasites that feed on the blood of people, pets, and wild animals using specialized mouthparts. Ticks are closely related to spiders, and adults all have eight legs. Before feeding, most ticks have flat, oval-shaped bodies. After feeding, their bodies expand in a balloon-like manner. The coloring and exact size of ticks are species-dependent. The most common ticks found in northern New Jersey are the American dog, black-legged, brown dog, and lone star ticks.

a tick biting a persons head in mahwah new jerseyAmerican dog tick
American dog ticks are a large species of tick and are brownish in color with whitish-gray or yellow markings on them. This tick's preference is to feed on the blood of domesticated dogs, although they will also happily feed on a wide variety of other mammals, including people.

Blacklegged tick
Blacklegged ticks are a small species of tick that are brownish-orange in color with darker blackish-colored legs. Before feeding, adult ticks are about the size of a sesame seed, or about 1/8th of an inch in length.

Brown dog tick
Brown dog ticks, before enjoying a blood meal, are reddish-brown in color and are without any distinguishing markings found on their bodies. After feeding, they turn a gray-blue color. As their name suggests, the primary host of these ticks is the dog.

Lone star tick
Lone star ticks are reddish-brown in color and turn a more slate-gray color after feeding. Female lone star ticks have one white spot on their backs, while males have multiple smaller white spots on their backs.

Are ticks dangerous?

Ticks are dangerous pests, and care should be taken to avoid coming into contact with them. Ticks are vectors of serious diseases that they spread to both people and animals. Black-legged ticks are responsible for transmitting Lyme disease, which is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. American dog ticks spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. Lone star ticks can transmit tularemia and other diseases. Brown dog ticks prefer canines for their host and do not regularly feed on people. These ticks transmit a variety of diseases to your pets, including ehrlichiosis; while uncommon, they do have the ability to transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever to people.

Why do I have a tick problem?

Ticks are most often introduced onto properties by wild animals. Squirrels, raccoons, deer, skunks, and rodents such as mice and rats all commonly introduce ticks onto properties. Ticks thrive on properties that have a lot of dark, moist areas for them to hide in, waiting for a new host to happen by. If there are large populations of ticks on your property, it is only a matter of time before you, your kids, or your pets become their next source of food.

Where will I find ticks?

Outside, ticks hide in tall grasses, in wooded areas, at the edges of wooded paths, in thick vegetation, in the grass around ponds and lakes, in overgrown shrubs and bushes, and along ditches and fence lines. Most tick species can only breed outdoors and, therefore, do not survive for long periods of time indoors. The exception to this rule is the brown dog tick, whose entire lifecycle can be completed indoors. Brown dog tick infestations often develop inside homes, kennels, and dog boarding facilities.

How do I get rid of ticks?

The best way to solve your northern New Jersey property’s tick problem is to partner with a local pest control company. When you partner with Heritage Pest Control, our reliable and friendly professionals will be at your residential or commercial property within 24 hours to assess the infestation and recommend treatment. We are proud to provide all of our customers with reliable, affordable, and environmentally friendly pest solutions. To learn more about our tick control services, reach out to us!

How can I prevent ticks in the future?

Listed below is a quick prevention guide to help you make your home and property as unappealing as possible to ticks:

  • With the help of their veterinarian, place pets on a year-round tick control program.

  • Place a stone barrier between wooded areas and your property’s lawn.

  • Keep your lawn trimmed short to eliminate hiding places.

  • Trim overgrown shrubs and bushes found on your property.

  • Remove bird feeders from your property that could attract wild animals to it.

  • Inspect yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks after spending time outside.

  • Regularly vacuum areas where your pets spend most of their time.

  • Regularly wash your pet's bedding.

While all of these tips are helpful at avoiding ticks, the most effective way to prevent run-ins with these dangerous pests is to invest in professional tick control services!


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