For many people in the Tukwila area, ticks can be a concern when spending time outdoors. For those who enjoy hiking, camping, and being in the great outdoors, knowing how to prevent ticks is especially important. However, ticks can also be a problem closer to home as they can get into your yard or attach to your pets.
Ticks are a particularly loathsome pest because they attach themselves to a human or animal host and hitch a ride as they suck the blood of the host. Because of this, they are considered parasitic pests. While they often attach to animals, many species also bite humans, and some species even lay their eggs in the hair or fur of their host.
While all species of ticks have similarities, they have slightly different behaviors and appearances. Here is a brief guide to common ticks in the area and what to watch out for.
American Dog Tick
This species gets its name because domesticated dogs are its preferred host. These ticks have a hard exterior and are brown with white or grey markings. They are attracted to the scent of animals and commonly found in grassy areas where humans and their pets are likely to walk by.
Rocky Mountain Wood Tick
These ticks are a dark brown color but look grey after they’ve gorged. Adults of this species often feed on deer or humans. They spend their time in low vegetation areas waiting for a host to come close.
Western Black-legged Tick
This species is commonly referred to as a deer tick, and they are a light reddish-brown color with black legs. While their preferred host is the white-tailed deer, they are known to try to attach to humans. Deer ticks hang out in transition areas such as the line between a forest and a field and wait there for a deer or other mammal to pass by.
What Does A Tick Bite Look Like?
The appearance of a tick bite can vary depending on the species and if any diseases are being spread. The surest way to know you’ve been bitten by a tick is if the tick is still attached in which case you will see the head of the tick embedded in the skin. One tell-tale sign of a tick bite that is spreading Lyme disease is a bulls-eye patterned rash.
One reason why tick bites are a cause for concern is that you often won’t notice them at first as they usually don’t cause irritation or itchiness right away. Ticks inject saliva that actually makes your immune system less likely to react at first. So, often the best way to notice a tick bite is to feel it on your body or see a mark after the tick has fallen off.
While not every tick bite will result in disease, there are some serious illnesses that ticks in the Tukwila area can spread, including:
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Colorado tick fever
- Tick paralysis
Because tick bites can lead to severe illness, knowing the health concerns to watch out for is essential. If you notice any of the following signs, you should seek medical attention right away:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Stiffness in joints
- Bullseye pattern rash
Tips For Preventing Ticks
While it’s not possible to completely keep ticks from getting onto your property or catching a ride on you or your pets, there are some steps you can follow to reduce tick populations around your yard. One of the best ways to keep ticks away is to deter wild animal populations from your property.
Here are some tick prevention steps:
- Work with your vet to keep your pets safe from ticks.
- Put up fences if possible to keep wild animals out of your yard.
- Keep garbage cans sealed with tightly fitted lids to deter raccoons and other pests.
- Regularly trim bushes and shrubs on your property.
- Mow your lawn frequently.
- Get help from pest control professionals.
Professional Tick Control
The best way to keep everyone in your family, including your pets, safe from tick bites is to work together with your veterinarian and the Tukwila, WA pest control experts at Alta Pest Control. We are happy to provide you with advice on prevention methods or help with removing ticks around your property. Give us a call today to learn more.