The risk for tick bites and the diseases they carry are higher than usual this year since COVID-19 means more people are spending time at home – not vacationing, going to fairs, or other similar activities. Since ticks have been found in Long Island backyards, staying home can protect you from the pandemic while increasing the chance for tick exposure.
Being able to identify the type of tick you find can tell you how to treat a bite and if you are at risk for Lyme disease or another illness. Below you’ll learn more about the three types of ticks found on Long Island and how to identify them.
American Dog Ticks
- Size: Adults are about 5mm long normally and 15 mm when engorged
- Color: Brown with white to grayish marks
- Shape: Flattened oval
- Number of legs: 6 legs for larvae and 8 when they are nymphs and adults
Also known as the wood tick for its most common habitat, the American dog tick can also be found near bodies of water. Like all ticks, they bite mammals and feed on their blood – with mice, squirrels, deer, and raccoons among their most common prey. As their name indicates, they are also prone to biting dogs.
American dog ticks do not transmit Lyme disease but they spread Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which can also be serious, and Tularemia. Tick bite paralysis can also occur, but it is rare in people.
While woods and grassy fields are their most common habitat, since some Long Island homes border parks, wooded areas, etc. they can still be a threat to people who never camp or hike. They can also be a risk to your pets.
- Size: Adults are about 3.17mm long normally and 10mm when engorged
- Color: Brown/black or orange brown with darker legs
- Shape: Flat, wide oval
- Number of legs: 8
Deer ticks, also known as black-legged ticks, are the most notorious of all ticks because their bite can transmit Lyme Disease. It is also the smallest of the ticks in our area, with adults being as small as a sesame seed.
Deer ticks are considered extremely dangerous due to the number of possible diseases they can carry. Lyme disease is the best known because it can have debilitating effects but Babesiosis, which has symptoms like Malaria, is another possibility – as is the Powassan virus.
While deer ticks are commonly found in wooded and grassy areas, just like American dog ticks, on Long Island they can frequently be found in backyards, especially in Suffolk County.
Lone Star Ticks
- Size: Females are about 3.17mm long normally, with the males being slightly smaller, and 11.1mm when engorged
- Color: Reddish brown normally and gray when engorged. Females have a whitish or silvery spot on their backs. Males have several whitish horseshoe-shaped marks.
- Shape: Oval
- Number of legs: 8
Lone star ticks get their names from the white mark the females carry, not from Texas. They are typically found in the shade and cannot survive long periods of time in the sun.
While lone star ticks, much like other tick species, can transmit illnesses, Lyme disease is not one of them. Confusingly though, lone star tick bites can give the appearance of Lyme disease along with fatigue, causing confusion. Instead, lone star ticks can transmit Ehrlichiosis and Tularemia.
Protect Yourself From Ticks
If you’re still not sure what kind of ticks are on your property, have the professionals at Arrow Exterminating provide an inspection and help you determine the right solution. To get started, contact Arrow Exterminating today.