Lone Star Ticks: Bites — Removal Information Guide

Lone Star Ticks

What are Lone Star Ticks?

The lone star tick gets its name from the single silvery-white spot located on the female’s back. These ticks attack humans more frequently than any other tick species in the eastern and southeastern states. Lone star tick bites will occasionally result in a circular rash, and they can transmit diseases. It is essential that lone star tick removal start immediately.

Identification

Pest Stats

Color

Reddish brown, becoming slate gray when engorged

Larvae have 6 legs, nymphs and adults have 8 legs

Shape

Females are 1/6-1/4” (4-6 mm) un-engorged and 1/2” (16 mm) engorged; Males are smaller

Antennae

Region

West central Texas northward to northern Missouri and eastward from Maine to the southern tip of Florida

What Do Lone Star Ticks Look Like?

Unengorged adult female lone star ticks are about 1/8 inches long, while males are slightly smaller. When engorged, adult female lone star ticks can be up to 7/16 inches long. Lone star ticks have reddish brown oval bodies that become slate grey when engorged. Females have a single whitish to silvery spot on their backs, whereas make lone star ticks have several inverted horseshoe-shaped whitish spots along their backs.

Signs of an Infestation

The lone star tick does not survive indoors. If found indoors, it was probably carried in on a pet or humans and dropped off when fully engorged.

Lone Star Tick Photos

Dorsal view of a lone star tick

Photo of a lone star tick on a finger

Infestation & Prevention

How to Get Rid of Lone Star Ticks

Habitat modification and the removal of hosts are key to lone star tick removal. Keep grass cut low, and trim back vegetation along trails, paths, and yard edges. Remove debris and ground cover to discourage rodents from making the yard their home. If you suspect a lone start tick problem on your property, contact a licensed pest control professional.

Black-legged deer ticks are much smaller than dog ticks. Deer tick bites, however, are much more dangerous than dog tick bites. More on deer ticks here.

Find a Pest Control Professional

Lone Star Tick Bites

Lone star tick bites will occasionally result in a circular rash, and they can transmit diseases. If a lone star tick is found on the body, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Then, pull upward with steady, even pressure and avoid twisting or jerking the tick as this can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. Once the tick is removed, thoroughly clean the bite site with soap and water. Then, flush the tick down the toilet or wrap it tightly in a tissue before disposing in a closed receptacle. If you develop a rash, headaches, pains or fever, call a doctor immediately.

To avoid lone star tick bites, experts recommend wearing tick repellent and long-sleeved clothes. Avoid sitting on logs, stumps, or the ground in bushy areas. Periodically inspect clothing and the body for ticks to remove them before they become attached.

Education

Habits

The lone star tick is a 3-host tick, with each stage requiring a different host. These ticks usually contact a host by crawling up on the tips of low-growing vegetation and waiting for a host to pass by and brush the vegetation. While larvae are almost entirely dependent on this behavior, nymphs and adults may become stimulated by the warmth and carbon dioxide from a host spending considerable time in the area and will drop to the ground, find the host, and climb onto it.

Lone star ticks cannot survive long exposure to the sun and are therefore typically found in shaded areas. The habitat must also contain both small animal hosts for larvae and large animal hosts for adults. A relative humidity of greater than 65 percent is required for egg hatch and larval survival until host attachment. A favorite habitat of the lone star tick is the woods to lawn or meadow transitional zone.

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Small animal larval hosts include the gray fox, cottontail rabbit, striped skunk, raccoon, cotton rat, gray squirrel, cat, and ground nesting birds. Nymphs get on many of these same animals, as well as larger animals typical for adults. Adult hosts include foxes, dogs, cats, cattle, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and humans – humans are attacked by all 3 stages.

Threats

The lone start tick is known to bite humans. This tick is a vector of many dangerous diseases, including tularemia, Heartland virus, Bourbon virus and Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI). Great care should be exercised when removing embedded ticks because their long mouthparts make removal difficult. The mouthparts are often broken off during removal which may result in secondary infection.

Invasive Species Making Their Mark Across the United States

Invasive species are on the move across the U.S., causing property and agricultural damage, and even presenting new health threats to Americans. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) identified the top five species spreading across the U.S. and what people can do to prevent or eliminate these pests.

The Top 5 Invasive Species Threatening Your Home

Invasive species are on the move across the U.S., causing property damage and presenting new health threats. Here are the top 5 invasive pests to look out for in and around your home.

Excessive Moisture Across Continental U.S. Will Spur Early Pest Activity

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) today released its bi-annual Bug Barometer®, a seasonal forecast of the pest pressure and activity Americans can expect to see in their respective regions of the country based on weather patterns and long-term predictions, as well as pest biological behaviors. According to the group’s team of entomologists, residual winter moisture coupled with wet forecasts ahead will cause pest populations to spike early in much of the continental U.S. this spring and summer.

How To Safely And Easily Remove A Tick

Found a tick on your skin? Follow this step-by-step guide to safely and successfully remove a tick.

Interesting Tick Facts

Before heading outdoors this summer, check out these five little-known facts about one of the season’s most common biting pests — ticks.

Ticked Off? Prevent Bites With These 5 Tips!

Prevent tick bites when spending time outdoors by following these five tips.

Copyright ©2020 National Pest Management Association

Copyright ©2020
National Pest Management Association

www.pestworld.org

Why Is Lyme Disease So Dangerous?

In the medical community, a relatively new disease is earning itself the title of “The Great Imitator” due to its difficulty to diagnose and treat. This illness commonly causes symptoms that mimic other conditions such as the flu, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic fatigue, and Fibromyalgia. If left untreated it can lead to long-term symptoms that could last for months or even years. In the past few years, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has seen an explosive increase in the number of confirmed cases, and many experts agree that it could only get worse.

I’m talking about Lyme disease, a bacterial infection transmitted through the bite of an infected black-legged tick (also known as a deer tick). So what exactly are the dangers associated with Lyme disease, and what can you do to help protect yourself?

Lyme Disease: A Ticking Time Bomb

When it comes to Lyme disease, timing is crucial, according to LymeDisease.org. If not correctly diagnosed early, Lyme disease could cause symptoms that linger for months or even years. The medical community is still working to understand this disease and its symptoms, which means a quick diagnosis could be tricky. The symptoms could be attributed to many other illnesses, and the tests are not always accurate. If diagnosed early, Lyme disease treatment consists of a few weeks of antibiotics. If not, it could develop into chronic Lyme (known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Symptoms, or PTLDS). The more aware you are of possible Lyme disease symptoms, the better chance you have of a timely and accurate diagnosis.

The Early Stages of Lyme Disease

According to the CDC, a tick must be attached to its host for 24-48 hours for Lyme disease to be transmitted. One of the earliest signs of Lyme disease is the trademark “bulls-eye” rash, which occurs on average a week after the bite happened, although it could take as long as 30 days to appear. It’s important to note that this rash is only present up to 70% of the time, and in some cases may be in a difficult to see location. It is possible that you never notice the tick or locate the site of the bite.

In the weeks following the bite, flu-like symptoms typically develop. These can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches

If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms and have been in an area where a tick bite may have occurred at any time within the past month, it is important to discuss the possibility of Lyme disease with your doctor.

Late Lyme Disease

According to the CDC, Lyme disease left untreated for 30 days develops into Late Lyme Disease, where symptoms persist and change over the course of months or years. The symptoms of this stage vary wildly and can affect many different parts of the body. They include, but are not limited to:

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  • Numbness in the arms, legs, hands or feet
  • Severe headaches
  • Extreme sensitivity and nerve pain
  • Facial palsy (the loss of muscle control on one or both sides of the face)
  • Brain disorders involving memory, sleep, and mood
  • Swelling or arthritis in the joints
  • Pain in the tendons, bones, muscles and joints

Even with treatment, this stage of Lyme disease can result in chronic symptoms that last for years.

Lyme Disease in Pets

Humans are not the only ones at risk of developing Lyme disease. The American Kennel Club (AKC) indicates, while it is relatively uncommon in cats, Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in dogs (although only 5-10% exhibit symptoms). Both dogs and cats share many of the same symptoms:

  • Lameness due to joint inflammation or “shifting leg lameness” (where symptoms go away and then come back with a different leg)
  • Lack of appetite and energy
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Increased urination and thirst

To help lower your pet’s risk of Lyme disease, talk to your veterinarian about a tick preventative medication.

Prevention: The Silver Lining

The harsh reality is that Lyme disease is a serious infection that could wreak havoc on someone’s life. But there is some good news. There are a few steps you can take to decrease your likelihood of infection drastically.

  • Take precautions: Basic knowledge of ticks and a few protective measures when outdoors, can go a long way in preventing tick bites in the first place.
    Often, you may find ticks in the woods and areas of high grass, but you don’t have to be hiking or camping to be at risk – some experts estimate two-thirds of tick bites occur during routine outdoor activities. Peak tick season is the summer between the months of May and September, and ticks are most active at dawn and dusk.
  • Layers: While wearing long sleeves in the summer isn’t appealing, it will add a layer of protection and make it more difficult for a tick to latch onto your skin. You could also purchase clothing with built-in tick repellent. If you are spending an extended period outdoors, using a spray containing permethrin on your clothes and outdoor gear is recommended.
  • Inspect ASAP: After coming in from outside, check yourself (and your pets) thoroughly for ticks. If at all possible, ensure this inspection takes place within 2 hours of having been outdoors. Common tick bite locations include the scalp, back of the neck, inner thighs, waistband, top of socks, and under the arm. A tick is tiny and can bite anywhere, so make sure you inspect yourself carefully.
  • Careful removal: If you locate a tick, remove it with a pair of tweezers or a tick spoon. Be careful not to squeeze its body, and firmly but gently pull or scrape the tick off. Going slowly will help to ensure the head remains intact. Do not attempt to burn the tick off or smother it in salves! Not only could you burn yourself, but these approaches could cause the tick to release infected fluids before removal. If you have a secure place to store it, hang onto the tick in case symptoms develop. This will help identify the type of tick if treatment is needed. After removing the tick, apply antiseptic to the bite area.
  • Know the Symptoms: Feeling Flu-ish in July? Before you decide to tough it out with some over-the-counter medicine, talk to your doctor about the possibility of Lyme disease.

The Modern Method

New England is one of the areas most at risk for Lyme disease, which is why at Modern we offer a specialized Mosquito & Tick treatment program. Our program consists of 5 monthly treatments between May and September and has proven to reduce both tick and mosquito populations effectively. Let us help you take back your yard – give us a call or get a FREE online quote today!

www.modernpest.com

Voles

MOST ACTIVE DURING:

QUICK FACTS:

Voles are also often called meadow mice.

Voles are very closely related to hamsters.

A vole typically only lives for 3 — 6 months.

What are voles?

Voles are a small species of mammal that are part of the rodent family. Voles are sometimes confused with the common house mouse however, voles spend their entire lives living outdoors and it is very uncommon for them to invade the inside of a home or other building. Voles are known for creating underground tunnels and burrows that they use to store food inside of and this is also where they give birth to and raise their young.

What do they look like?

Adult voles range in length from 5-8 inches including their short fur covered tail. Voles have a short stocky body, short legs, small dark eyes, and fully developed ears that are partially hidden from view. Voles range in color from brownish to black.

Do voles bite?

Voles have teeth and therefore are capable of biting; however, it would be very rare to actually be bitten by a vole.

Are voles dangerous?

Voles are not considered to be physically dangerous to people; but, they are dangerous in the sense that they can spread disease through their urine and feces and introduce parasites onto your property. They also can cause major damages to lawns, fruit trees, landscaping, and grain crops.

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What are the signs of a vole infestation?

The most notable sign of a vole infestation is finding above ground “runways”. Voles use these runways for travel and they also connect the entrances of their burrows together. The runways are usually about 1-2 inches wide and are typically found in grassy areas. Active runways will have lots of vole droppings on their surface. Another sign of a vole infestation is plants and grasses that have wilted and turned yellowish in color.

Why do I have a vole problem?

Voles tend to invade properties that have big open lawns or that are located next to such properties like golf courses and parks. They are often found burrowing on properties that have a lot of vegetation for them to feed on and that can provide a good source of shelter.

How do I get rid of voles?

Voles are a difficult pest to get rid of without the help of a professional pest control expert. The experts here at Big Blue Bug Solutions are able to thoroughly inspect your property and find all the areas where voles are feeding and living, and then we will humanely eliminate them from your lawn. If you need help with vole control in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, or Connecticut contact the vole professionals here at Big Blue Bug Solutions today.

Vole prevention tips from Big Blue Bug Solutions

Preventing voles from wandering onto your property to feed and burrow is a very tricky task. The best way to prevent major problems and damages from this pest is to make sure you seek professional help at the first sign of voles living on your property.

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