American Dog Ticks in Eastern and Central Virginia
The American dog tick is distributed east of the Rocky Mountains and in a few western states such as California, Idaho, and Washington. As its name suggests, the American dog tick is most commonly found on dogs, but it will readily attack larger animals, such as mice, deer, cattle, horses, and even humans. Pets and humans may contract diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia from a single tick bite. American dog ticks can survive for up to 2 years at any given stage if no host is found.
American Dog Tick Habitat
They are found predominantly in areas with little or no tree cover, such as grassy fields and scrubland, as well as along walkways and trails. Residential areas containing overgrown shrubs, weeds, tall grass, and clutter attract the rodents that are hosts for immature ticks. Adult ticks climb onto a grass blade or other low vegetation, cling to it with their third pair of legs and then wave their legs when a potential host approaches. As the host brushes against the vegetation, the tick will grab onto the passing animal or human.
American Dog Tick Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers
The highest risk of being bitten occurs during spring and summer, and adult females are most likely to bite humans. Nymphs and adults can transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia. To avoid being bitten, apply an insect repellent containing an EPA-registered ingredient, such as DEET. Also, consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, preferably light-colored so ticks will be easy to detect, and tuck pants into socks. If you are dealing with a tick problem, contact your local tick control experts for assistance.
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