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Ticks may seem like a creature without a purpose due to their ill effects, but they do indeed benefit the environment in several ways. They provide a great food source for amphibians, reptiles, and birds, and they help keep wild animal populations in check. Scientists use ticks as a gauge of how the environment is doing based on their populations. This information can tell if small mammals abound or if predatory animals are getting out of control.
Though they may be beneficial to the natural environment, they can wreak havoc when introduced to your property or inside of your home. Ticks carry and transmit some pretty nasty diseases while they feed, which can be of significant concern regarding your family and pets. Learning all you can about how ticks thrive and how to keep them at bay can make all the difference when striving to protect your household.
The Rocky Mountain wood tick is an arachnid, but unlike spiders, they are parasitic and consume blood meals from warm-blooded mammals to survive. These ticks have three stages of life, which include larval, nymph, and adult stage. Larvae only have six legs and are less likely to feed on humans and, instead, are more commonly found on small mammals such as squirrels or rabbits. They molt and grow their last pair of legs during the nymph stage and seek out smaller hosts. Nymphs are lighter in color and become darker as adults. At the adult stage, ticks begin to feed on humans and larger animals when possible.
They are highly adapted for stealth and have legs that are well-suited for maneuvering on prey with or without thick hair or fur. Rocky Mountain wood ticks are hard to notice, especially when they are on clothing, and they are even harder to see when they take up residence in your pet’s fur. If your property is heavily wooded or you hike through meadows of high grass or deep woods, you should be on high alert for ticks. Adults wood ticks are most active from March to May and August to November.
Wood ticks will hide on or in your clothes, waiting for an opportunity to make their way to your body, and may even hitch a ride into your home before seeking out a host. This is also true of indoor/outdoor pets, who may unwittingly bring them into your home. In general, ticks do not develop or breed inside of homes, but if they find their way in, ticks can pose a significant health risk to your family and pets.
Rocky Mountain wood ticks are hard-bodied ticks and have eight legs. They are dark brown to reddish-brown, with females having prevailing grayish patterns on their dorsal side. Males have less defined grayish markings on their dorsal side. Females grow to be up to 0.13 inch in length but can nearly triple that size when fully engorged on blood. An engorged female can be 0.5 inch wide and up to 0.63 inch long. Males tend to be smaller and range between 0.06 to 0.25 inch when mature.
You will find Rocky Mountain wood ticks living from the Midwest to the West Coast of the United States. Their natural habitats are in deeply wooded areas or meadows with tall grass. Wood ticks are ambush predators and lay in wait underneath leaves or blades of grass. When a potential host brushes against their hiding place, they will latch on with their legs and make their way to an ideal feeding place on their host. Bulwark Exterminating is available if you live in an area riddled with these menacing critters, such as Phoenix, Arizona, or Salt Lake City, Utah.
Rocky Mountain wood ticks are considered to be a risk for transmitting diseases when they feed. They primarily carry and transmit the Colorado tick fever but have also been shown to transmit the Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. Their diseases are severe and can be fatal without proper medical attention. A bite from a wood tick can cause tick paralysis, where the toxins from their saliva induce paralysis of their hosts.
Other than disease transmission, wood ticks are practically harmless. Still, due to the severity of their infectious diseases, they are one of the most feared pests to have running rampant on your property. If you notice an increase in ticks on your property or inside your home, Bulwark Exterminating is an excellent resource for helping you eliminate the threat to your family and pets.
There are some precautionary measures you can take to keep you, your family, and pets protected from Rocky Mountain wood ticks. Any time spent outdoors during tick season should end with a thorough inspection of all family members, including pets. When you know you will be trekking into areas where wood ticks are present, you may want to do some outfitting before venturing out.
Wearing high-top socks, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, boots, and tick repellent will help keep them at bay while you enjoy the great outdoors. If you live in an area with wood tick infestations and have indoor/outdoor pets, you may also want to invest in tick treatments to not only protect your pets from infection but also to reduce your family’s exposure to them.
When you discover you have Rocky Mountain wood ticks on or near your property, you have to be vigilant and continuously screen your family’s clothes and your pet’s coats to keep wood ticks out of your home. Bulwark Exterminating can help you manage the threat and provide you with services and information geared towards preventing wood ticks. Keeping your property and home free of Rocky Mountain wood ticks is a prudent task worth the time and effort.