Beautiful sunny weather makes us want to enjoy nature, but other animals and insects like to take advantage of the great outdoors too. Ticks are so small that we often don’t see them until they’ve latched onto us and followed us home.
Ticks transmit protozoans, viruses, bacteria, and rickettsias. They can cause Tularemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, and Lyme disease.
Though ticks have some of the same characteristics as spiders and insects, they are arthropods and classified as mites. Ticks are external parasites, and they only feed on other creatures’ blood. There are two primary types of ticks: Argasidae, or soft ticks, and Ixodidae, or hard ticks. The hard tick’s shell is the main difference, and it restricts how much blood they can ingest at once. Soft ticks can feed quickly and are soft but leathery.
Most ticks aren’t too picky when it comes to finding a host while others only feast on one specific type of animal. Tick feeding habits vary throughout their four stages of life. Those stages are adult, nymph, larvae, and egg. Ticks find their prey by detecting their odors, breath, moisture, shadows, vibrations, and body heat.
These arachnids feed by grasping the skin of their victims and inserting their feeding tubes. Some ticks hold onto their host with barbs, or they secrete a substance like concrete.
About Lyme Disease
A person contracts Lyme disease from a Blacklegged tick that transmits a spirochete infection. The medical industry first identified Lyme disease in 1975, and it has proliferated since then. In 1982, national surveillance of the disease started when doctors found 491 cases of Lyme disease. There were 19,804 human cases verified in 2004 in the U.S. Europe has approximately 60,000 cases every year.
Who is at Risk for Lyme Disease?
Anyone who spends time outdoors hiking, golfing, camping, or playing and working in wooded or grassy areas is at risk of getting Lyme disease. People of all ages contract this illness and animals do too.
Your chances of being bitten by a tick increase when outside temperatures reach a certain point and specific times of the year. Ticks become active when the temperature is above 45 degrees. Adult ticks are more active from March to the middle of May and the middle of August to November. They resemble the size of sesame seeds. Nymphs, young deer ticks are most active from the middle of May to the middle of August. They are small like a poppy seed. Both if these ticks can transmit Lyme disease.
How Does Lyme Disease Spread?
Ticks get Lyme disease when they feed on a host such as a mouse or other mammal that has it. It spreads when a tick infected with Lyme disease bites someone and stays attached for an extended period. Usually, the tick must be attached for 36 hours or more. You can’t spread Lyme disease from person to person. While extremely rare, a pregnant woman can pass the bacteria on to her unborn child.
What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?
The most significant common problem that accompanies ticks is Lyme disease. Singer Avril Lavigne found this out the hard way several years ago when the disease confined her to her bed for five months with symptoms that made Lavigne feel like she was dying.
Early symptoms of Lyme disease make you feel flu-like. These symptoms include:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A skin rash characteristic of the condition known as erythema migrans or EM
These symptoms can appear anywhere from 3-30 days after an infected tick has latched onto you. In most cases, a circular rash that looks like a bull’s eye appears and expands close to or around the area of the bite. This rash is known as erythema migrans.
If the disease remains undiagnosed the symptoms will become worse. You’ll have extreme fatigue, numbness or tingling in the legs and arms, possible facial paralysis, or a stiff neck. The severest of symptoms may not emerge for months or years after the bite. They may evolve into issues with your central nervous system or heart problems, arthritis, joint swelling, and severe headaches.
Always Remain Alert
Whenever you’ve been outside in long grass, excessive plant overgrowth, or the woods, make sure to check yourself for ticks. Make it part of your routine and make sure to check your pets as well. They’re more likely to get ticks than you because of the places that they roam.
It is important to remove ticks that are in and around your home or business. Contact Arkadia – Eco Pest Control and let our professionals help!