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Ticks: The Basics

December 15, 2016

brown dog tick embedded in a pet in boca raton fl

It’s time to talk about one of the most harmful pests to you, your family, and your pets. The dreaded tick is a monster of a pest, but this monster is incredibly small, only growing to the size of a grain of rice. The reason ticks are so dangerous is because they can carry many types of diseases that can hurt you and your pets. In this article, I’ll cover the basics you should know about ticks, how you can avoid them, and how to get rid of them.

To begin with, ticks are not actually insects. Ticks are arachnids, which means they more closely related to spiders and scorpions. These arachnids need to feed on the blood of their host in order to survive. Their hosts can be humans, birds, reptiles or animals. Strangely enough, ticks cannot jump or fly so attaching to their host is hard for them. In order to attach to a host, a tick must climb up a piece of grass, the taller the better, and wait for something to come past. When the host brushes against the piece of grass the tick climbs on. Some ticks will bite the host right away, but some will move around to find the perfect spot. Either way, you won’t feel the bite at first because ticks secrete saliva that contains a numbing agent. We’re all afraid of ticks because of the diseases that they can transmit, but ticks are not born with any disease. Ticks acquire a disease when they attach to a host with that disease, thus spreading it from then on. Ticks are also a danger to your furry friends. Dogs are more likely to get a tick than cats, but any animal that goes outside should be checked regularly.

Tick prevention is key to keeping you, your family and your pets safe. I’ll start with some tips for humans. When going to areas with tall grass, wear a long sleeve shirt and pants or apply a tick repellant to exposed areas of skin. After returning home, make sure to check every inch of your body and your children’s bodies. Ticks love to hide in hair and small crevices. The best tick prevention for your pets is to use a topical or oral preventative. Talk to your vet for their professional recommendation. Just in case you do find a tick on you, tick removal is a very easy and an almost painless process. The CDC recommends having a pair of tweezers and rubbing alcohol ready. Use the tweezers to grasp the tick and pull gently away from your body. Do not twist or jerk the tick as this may lead to parts of the tick’s mouth staying in your skin. After removing the tick, place the tick in rubbing alcohol or flush it down the toilet. Never crush a tick using your fingers. Then wash your hands and the area where the tick was with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. The process for tick removal for your pets is the exact same, except, instead of flushing the tick down the toilet, keep it in a container with rubbing alcohol. In case your pet becomes sick you will have the tick to take to the vet.

If you have any questions about ticks in WPB or elsewhere in South Florida, or if you are interested in our pest control services, please call one of our Nozzle Nolen representatives at (888) 685-0376.


National Pesticide Information Center, 2015

Center for Disease Control, 2015





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