There are over 800 species of ticks known the world over. The five most common ticks in Michigan belong to the “hard ticks” group, these are: American Dog Tick, Woodchuck Tick, Blacklegged Tick, Lone Star Tick and Brown Dog Tick. The size of the tick depends on what life stage they’re in and what species they are; they can be smaller than a sesame seed or as big as a fava bean (when filled with blood).
Ticks are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded mammals. Some species have been known to feed on birds, reptiles and even amphibians. Ticks need to feed for at least 24 hours to transmit diseases. Though tick-borne diseases are rare in Michigan these diseases can be serious if they aren’t diagnosed and treated properly.
Additional Pest Information
Appearance – Ticks do not have wings. Their body is a single oval shape that is sort of flat (except when filled with blood). Adults have eight legs; larvae have only six legs. Ticks are carriers of diseases that affect humans and other animals, such as Lyme disease.
Biology – Ticks are the most common during the months of April through July. They move to areas where there are a lot of mammals, ground-dwelling birds, and lizards. Common places are: moist woodlands and areas around the edge of forests with a lot of plants, along forest trails, grassy fields, in and around campgrounds, and in abandoned grassy yards in urban areas. Ticks also are found in tall grass near interstate rest areas where pets are allowed to walk.
Prevention – The best way to prevent tick bites is to avoid certain areas during peak tick season. If you do need to enter an area that most likely has ticks, wear light-colored clothing, and a long-sleeved shirt tucked into long pants tucked into socks. This will help keep ticks from reaching your body, and it will help you spot any adult ticks on your clothing. Wear a repellent that contains DEET, and check your body regularly for ticks.
Tick Removal – If a tick is located on the body, use tweezers to carefully remove the attached tick. Additionally a single application of most ornamental-turf pesticides labeled for ticks will give 85-90% protection in areas where humans are frequently and ticks exist. Acaricides may give protection from ticks as well. Speak with a professional for advice in your situation.
1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.