Like scorpions, spiders and mites, ticks are arachnids, not insects. Adult ticks have eight legs, two body segments and a shield-like scale — known as a scutum — right behind their heads. Ticks vary in size, body color and scutum color depending on the tick's species, sex and life stage.
Minute tick larvae develop into several nymph stages, which look like miniature adults. Their teardrop-shaped bodies are smaller than a grain of sand, then mature to anywhere from 1/32 to 1/6 inch long. Ticks feed on blood and when engorged with a meal, they bloat to 1/2 inch long or more.
Most tick species stay within defined regions of the country, but the ranges of ticks and the pathogens they carry are expanding. These identifying features can help you distinguish between four troublesome U.S. tick species:
Most people discover ticks crawling on their bodies or burrowed into the flesh of a family member or pet. As ticks feed on blood, their bodies can balloon up to 120 times their normal body weight. Once finished, they drop from their hosts and lay masses of eggs. With indoor infestations, thousands of hatchlings cover walls and windows.
Unlike fleas, ticks don't jump. Instead, they grab onto people and pets as they walk by. To test outdoor areas for signs of ticks, slowly drag a white cloth through grass. Despite their small bodies, ticks that grab onto the cloth show up easily.
If you're bitten by a tick and a rash develops, see a doctor immediately. The look of the rash can help doctors diagnose tick-transmitted diseases more easily.
Most tick bites — and transmissions of disease-causing pathogens — come via immature tick nymphs. Treat your property in early spring as ticks and tick-carrying wildlife become active, then keep it protected until tick activity diminishes in fall.
Amdro® brand tick control options can help you protect your family, including pets, from ticks and tick-borne diseases:
Most tick bites happen at people's homes, not in wild, woodland areas. Ticks hang out in tall grasses and weeds along lawn borders. When treating, give special attention to unmaintained areas and the first 9 feet of lawn inside that border.
After outdoor activities in tick-prone areas, immediately check family members for crawling ticks. The longer a tick is on a body, the greater the risk of disease transmission.
Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully.
Amdro and Amdro Quick Kill are registered trademarks of Central Garden & Pet Company.
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