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What is it?

A blood-sucking pest related to spiders, ticks are attackers of humans, dogs, cats, and other animals. Most are found in brushy or grassy areas and occasionally the brown dog tick sets up residence in the home.

What does it look like?

The bugs are leathery, brown and oval shaped. They range in size from 1/16 to 1/8 inch prior to feeding, and when engorged becomes an olive gray to blue color up to 1/2 inch in diameter. They will be found attached to the skin of a person or hide of a pet.

How does it manifest?

Ticks attach themselves to passing animals and humans and sink their head and mouthparts into the flesh, sucking blood for up to 15 days before dropping off if left undisturbed. Ticks transmit many human diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia. Tick-infested dogs and cats may become restless and weak due to the loss of blood and irritating bites. Ticks can survive up to 18 months without water or food.

What can you do about it?

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof means of detaching a tick, and often their mouthparts will break off in the skin causing small infections or ulcerations to develop. However, the most commonly used and considered best means of removal is to slowly and steadily pull the tick from the skin and immediately washing the area with soap and water afterward. If the wound becomes infected or the bitten human or animal continues to be ill, consult a doctor or veterinarian. Infested pets can be treated with carbaryl containing insecticides and the same can be done for brushy or grassy areas around the home. Ticks in the home may be killed by fogging or dusting with pyrethrins or permethrin containing insecticides.