Getting Rid of Ticks - Tick Bites and Health Risks


Ticks are external parasites, feeding on the blood of humans, pets, livestock and wild animals. Ticks are not insects. They are arthropods, with relatives that include scorpions, spiders and mites. Ticks are wingless, have no antennae and have a single, oval body region that is relatively flat. They transmit disease easily because they attach firmly when sucking blood, feed slowly and can go unnoticed for a considerable amount of time. Ticks take several days to complete feeding, increasing the chances of tick-borne illnesses. Tick control is extremely difficult, as ticks have no natural biological enemies.

These parasites are on a continuous search for a host. Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not fly or jump. They do not blow in the wind or fall from trees to land on your head. Ticks sit on a blade of grass or on bushes and foliage close to the ground, with their front legs extended, waiting for a host to wander by. This behavior is called questing. Ticks' legs can detect carbon dioxide, host odors, body heat, vibrations, and warm, moist air currents from a passing animal or person. When a victim wanders by and brushes against a blade of grass, ticks crawl on and then latch on to their hosts to obtain a meal.

People pick up the vast majority of ticks while walking through woods, weeds or brush. Children and pets play outdoors more frequently, on lawns, in forests and in brush. They are natural targets for ticks who easily attach to clothes, skin, or hair. Common places ticks attach include the backs of knees or ears, armpits, waist, or in hair.

Ticks pose great health risks to the animals and humans they bite so it is important to contact a professional when getting rid of ticks. Allergic reaction is a common side effect of tick bites. A tick bite can cause a small skin reaction or produce a tiny lump on the skin. There is usually redness at the area and itching for up to 72 hours. The major concern is the diseases they carry and transmit, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Q Fever, Tularemia, Tick Paralysis and Meningoencephalitis.

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