Due to a variety of factors, the population of ticks has exploded across the North American continent. Ticks can be divided into two main families: hard ticks and soft ticks. There are about 700 hard tick species and 200 soft tick species all over the world, but only a handful of them are interested in humans.
Hard ticks or Ixodidae have a rough start in life. Once the hard tick larva hatches from its egg, it immediately must look for a bird or small mammal to feed on. After the feeding session, the larva falls on the ground and it begins molting. Once the molting process is complete, the larva enters the nymphal stage, in which it has to seek larger hosts. With the second feeding session complete, the nymph molts into an adult. Hard tick bites are painless and they may feed anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.
Soft ticks, or Argasidae have a similar start to hard ticks. They will hatch from their eggs, latch onto some poor mammal, feed and then find a place to mold into the nymphal stage. However, once in this stage, they may have to go through several different phases before they reach adulthood, and through each phase, they will have to feed. Soft ticks can live anywhere from a few months to a few years depending on the species, and their bite is also painless, but it only lasts about 15 to 30 minutes.
In most situations, both hard and soft ticks are easy to detect when they’re adults. However, it is the nymphal stage that you have to worry about, since at this point, the ticks are still able to spread disease. In fact, in certain areas of the US, nymphal ticks have a higher rate of infection than adult ticks.
With that being said, there are only a handful of tick species in the US that will bite humans. These species, most of which are from the hard tick family, include the American dog tick, the blacklegged or deer tick, the brown dog tick, the groundhog tick, the lone star tick, the Pacific coast tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick and the western blacklegged tick. These species are found throughout the continental United States.
If you have a tick infestation on your property, it’s best to get rid of it right away, before you, your family or your pets/livestock get bitten. Contact us today and we will help you remove the infestation.