Tick Identification & Prevention

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What You Need To Know About Ticks In Muskegon, MI

Tick outdoors on a leaf

Ticks are common carriers of certain diseases such as Lyme Disease & Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Our pest control in Muskegon can help protect your West Michigan home and family.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ticks

Close up of a dog tick on skin

What are ticks?

Ticks are related to spiders. They have eight legs, a flat, oval-shaped body, and are usually dark in color. Adult ticks are about the size of an apple seed. Ticks present a serious home pest control and commercial pest control issue because their numbers are on the rise, and if they attach to you or your pet they are hard to find. Ticks can’t fly, they don’t jump, and they won’t drop down on people or pets from trees. Ticks will latch on to your shoe or your pet’s paw and crawl up to find a place to attach themselves.

Where will I find ticks?

Ticks are usually found in elevated wooded and grassy areas. Tall grass is a favorite spot for ticks to find their prey. Ticks eat blood to survive, so they live where the animals they feed off of roam. You can find ticks anywhere you find deer, birds, rabbits, squirrels, mice, and other rodents. Ticks detect a host using body odors, carbon dioxide, body heat, moisture, vibrations, and even by shadows. They like to make their home in places with lots of shrubs, weeds, tall grasses, and leaf litter. A single female, depending on the species, will lay a batch of eggs ranging from 1,000 to 18,000 eggs and then will die. The most serious problem with ticks is the diseases they can spread to humans, pets, and livestock.

Where do ticks hide on humans?

Ticks are surprisingly fast and can move across your body quickly. You could find a tick nearly anywhere on your body. They prefer warm and moist areas. You will often find a tick in your armpits, groin, or scalp. While clothes do offer protection from ticks, they can still get under your clothes.

How can I protect myself from ticks?

  • Use Insect Repellent
  • Wear Light Colored Clothes
  • Avoid Areas with High Grass
  • Wear Long Pants
  • Wear Long Sleeved Shirts
  • Wear Socks

Are ticks dangerous?

Ticks are common carriers of certain diseases such as Lyme Disease & Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Not all ticks carry disease. It used to be getting bit by a tick was more of a nuisance than anything else. Nowadays you have a much higher risk of getting sick from a tick bite. In the United States, both ticks and tick-borne diseases have been on the rise over the last 20 years. If a tick attaches itself, you have 26-48 hours before bacteria transmission.

Can ticks kill you?

Tick bites are generally harmless without any symptoms whatsoever. But ticks do carry disease, such as Lyme disease, and cause other allergic reactions. Other diseases can be dangerous, and sometimes deadly, to both humans and pets.

What happens if I get bitten by a tick?

When a tick finds a place it likes it will bite you. You don’t feel this bite because ticks secrete novel painkillers into their hosts through their saliva. This numbs the immediate area and allows the tick to burrow it’s head firmly in the host unnoticed. Once there it will continue to feed until it is removed or fully engorged. The amount of time a tick will stay attached to a host depends on what stage in the life cycle it is. The older a tick, the longer it can feed. Typically you’re looking at 3 to 10 days.

What happens if I don't remove a tick?

If you don’t remove a tick it will continue to feed until it’s fully engorged and fall off on its own.  The area where it falls off will often turn red and itchy like a mosquito bite. Oftentimes people won’t notice they’ve been bitten by a tick until they start feeling itchy. Ticks are common carriers of bacterial diseases that can make you sick. If a tick attaches itself, you have 26-48 hours before bacteria transmission.

What will make a tick back out?

There are a number of myths on how to get a tick to back out on its own. A match or lighter is a common one where the heat is supposed to compel the tick to back out of your skin. Coating the tick with vaseline or some kind of liquid dish soap is another common belief in removing ticks from your skin. The idea is to suffocate the tick forcing the tick to back out. Vaseline will not kill a tick. Unfortunately, these methods are more likely to cause the tick to burrow deeper into your skin, instead of coming out.

How can I remove a tick?

The CDC recommends the best way to remove a tick is with pointed tweezers. Tweezers should be used for tick removal using slow, steady pressure, pulling straight up and as close to the skin as possible, so that the entire tick and mouthparts are likely to be removed.

How do I know if a tick is fully removed?

When you successfully remove a tick check and see if it’s still alive. If the tick is moving around and alive you can rest easy knowing you got the entire tick out. If the tick is dead it’s likely the head or some mouthparts are still inside your body.

What do I do if I pull a tick out and the head stays in?

If you fail to get the entire tick out of your body don’t fret. The head and mouth will not continue to burrow into your body. It’s very likely you will be completely fine. If there is a large portion of the head you should continue to remove it with sharp-pointed tweezers. If it’s just a small portion that you can’t get it’s likely your body will shed it in a few days. There is a strong chance you have some minor irritation in the area for a few days.  You are also more likely to get infected if the tick is a carrier of a disease.

Protect Your Pets from Ticks

Dog tick crawling on a dogs fur

If your pet spends time outdoors, tick checks should be part of your daily routine. Here’s how to spot a tick – and what to do if one has latched on to your pet.

Scan for ticks by running your fingers slowly over your dog’s entire body. If you feel a bump or swollen area, check to see if a tick has burrowed there by parting the fur and viewing the skin. Don’t limit your search to your dog’s torso: check between his toes, under his armpits, the insides of his ears, on the head, and around his face and chin. Ticks can be black, brown, or tan and they have eight legs. They can also be tiny: some species are only as large as the head of a pin. If you find a tick it needs to be removed. Follow the steps to removing a tick outlined below.

Steps to Removing a Tick

Tick removal step 1

Sanitize the Bite Area and Tweezers

Tick removal step 2

Grab the Tick Close to the Head

Tick removal step 3

Pull up Slowly and Carefully

Tick removal step 4

Sanitize the Bite Area Again

Grab The Tweezers

Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Avoid pinching your skin.

Pull Up

Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off.

Be Careful

If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.

Clean Up

After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

Disposal

Dispose of a live tick by submerging it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

Monitor the Area

If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Bring the tick you saved for testing.

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