Common Types of Ticks in Virginia

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Family outside

Ticks can be found everywhere in the summer months. Whether you’re going for a long hike outdoors or simply enjoying your own backyard, ticks can cling to exposed areas of your skin as well as hide in areas that are generally covered, such as your ankles. Aside from being parasitic nuisances, ticks can transmit a variety of harmful diseases to you and your pets, including Rocky Mountain, spotted fever, and Lyme disease. In order to learn how to get rid of ticks properly and find the right tick control for you, it’s important to first learn how to identify ticks.

Common Species of Ticks

Ticks aren’t just found when wandering around on a hike. They can be found in your own backyard! With our mild temperatures here we are host to a variety of different species. 

The most common ticks that are found in yards around Virginia are:

  • Deer ticks (Blacklegged ticks)
  • Lone Star ticks
  • Gulf Coast ticks
  • American Dog ticks

Deer Ticks, or Blacklegged Ticks

Deer ticks, also referred to as blacklegged ticks, are among the most active types of ticks year-round in the state of Virginia, and they’re also the most common. 

What do deer ticks look like?

These ticks are the smallest breed in North America, so they can be difficult to spot. As adults, deer ticks can grow up to ¼ of an inch, which is about the size of a sesame seed! They have hard-shelled bodies and are solid orange-brown in color with dark black legs. 

Are deer ticks dangerous?

Yes, these pests are dangerous to humans. They can easily latch onto you and can go virtually unnoticed if you don’t look close enough due to their small size. They do spread harmful diseases to humans like Lymes Disease, so it is important to remove them if you ever see one on yourself, a loved one, or a pet.

Lone Star Ticks

Unlike, Deer ticks, Lone Star ticks are light brown all over their bodies. Lone Star ticks grow to be relatively the same size as Deer ticks, but their backs feature a discolored, distinctive mark that differentiates them from other ticks: the shape of a small star. Past the larva stage of development, Lone Star ticks’ legs extend and grow straight outward. 

Are Lone Star Ticks dangerous?

Just like Deer Ticks, these outdoor pests can transmit a variety of diseases to their human host. Those include: 

  • Acquired Red Meat Allergy
  • Heartland virus
  • Ehrlichiosis 
  • Rickettsia parkeri disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI)
  • Tularemia

Gulf Coast Ticks

Gulf Coast ticks may appear harmless with their pecan-looking bodies--yes, their bodies really do have the color, texture, and shape of pecans--but they can also be harmful to you and your pets. Their legs extend outward like the legs of Lone Star ticks, and their legs are light caramel in color. 

Where do Gulf Coast ticks live?

While Gulf Coast ticks are commonly found in coastal parts of Virginia, such as Virginia Beach, these ticks can be found in other parts of the state with large bodies of water. 

American Dog Ticks

American Dog ticks are a little larger than ticks commonly found in Virginia. With their teardrop-shaped bodies and their unique dark and light brown spotted hard backs, American Dog ticks appear almost like miniature turtles. Their legs are thicker in diameter and extend outward like most ticks found in Virginia. These ticks can spread Tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever to you and your pets.

How Do You Identify a Tick on Your Body

While ticks may be small and hard to identify at times, you can detect ticks on your body by searching for inflammation and red spots that look similar to mosquito bites. Often, these bites are characterized by a red circle around a brown dot, which is the head or body of a tick.

How do You Get a Tick off of Your Body?

Simply pulling it out is one method to go with. Grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible with your fingers or tweezers if available and pull straight out in one solid motion. Do not twist or jerk the tick. If you’re trying to avoid pulling it out there are a few things you can put near the embedded tick to get it out. Those are:

  • Petroleum jelly
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Nail polish remover

What to Do if You or Your Pet is Bit by a Tick

When checking your dog or other pet for ticks, look for large inflamed bumps or round lumps. These lumps will grow darker brown as the tick continues to feed on your pet. If you have discovered a tick on you or your pet’s body, you want to quickly and carefully remove it, but you also want to safely do so. Using tweezers to remove a tick is best, but you have to ensure that you pull upward, so the tick is fully removed from the skin. If any part is left behind, the tick can continue to feed off you or your pet’s body. 

What to do After you Remove a Tick From Your Pet?

According to the CDC, after removing the tick, you should place it in a solution of rubbing alcohol or flush it down the toilet. For further protection, have a tick exterminator come and inspect your home for comprehensive removal throughout the seasons

How to Get Rid of Ticks in Your Yard

If you continue to find ticks on you or your pet, call Agronomic Lawn Management for recurring tick control. A highly trained exterminator will thoroughly inspect and treat your property for ticks, so you can worry less about diseases and more about the things in life that really matter. We are guaranteed to help you get rid of ticks in your yard and prevent future infestations.

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