There are three common ticks in Tennessee and Kentucky: American dog tick, deer tick and lone star tick. The color differs among species and while the larvae only measures about 1 mm, adults can grow up to 1 cm after feeding. Most environments are essential for most ticks. While all ticks consume blood and do not care about the source when hungry, host preferences vary among species. Some ticks mainly bite livestock, others prefer humans and yet another type usually feeds off dogs or cats.
A tick develops though four stages of the life cycle: egg, larval, nyphal and adult. The first two stages are characterized by 6 legs and the last two stages have 8 legs. A tick has to take a blood meal to develop into the next stage and can carry pathogens through the different stages. Bites often result in diseases, such as Lyme disease and can cause rashes, aches. Pains, fever and chills.
Ticks usually hide in cracks and crevices and also in bird and rodent nests. To efficiently control ticks it is advisable to keep the grass in the yard short. Removing at tick from human or pet skin can result in a dangerous infection if parts of the tick such as the mouthpiece are still lodged into the wound or if the tick gets squeezed and discharges fluids. Ticks are brought into the house on pets and people’s clothing.
Ticks are like fleas parasitic, consume blood and transmit diseases. Fleas have only 6 legs throughout all developmental stages, they cannot fly and are good jumpers. While ticks are found mostly outside, fleas usually dwell indoors. Fleas, as well as ticks prefer other sources of blood, but will feed on humans if needed. It is a good idea to regularly inspect pets for ticks to prevent an infestation and diseases.