Ticks are bloodsucking parasites that are often found in tall grass and brush. There are more than 850 species of ticks worldwide, at least 100 can and do transmit more than 65 diseases. For photographs and Quick Time movies of several tick species click on the tick image gallery at: http://www.ent.iastate.edu/imagegal/ticks/ . Many tick-borne diseases often go undiagnosed because they mimic Lyme disease and its flu-like symptoms. They include: babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, tularemia and ehrlichiosis. It is very likely that a person can be bitten once and become infected with more than one agent. Ticks are literally living cesspools that suck blood and diseases from a variety of animals before they finally die. The tick’s mouthparts are designed for sucking blood and holding on to the host at the same time. Most ticks prefer to feed on animals, but when they are hungry and you walk by, watch out. The two common ticks in the U.S.A. are the Lone Star Tick and the American Dog Tick. An estimated 1% of tick populations can carry Colorado tick fever or Rocky Mountain spotted fever (primarily in the western and eastern U. S.) Ticks can be found in the woods, lawns, meadows, shrubs, weeds, caves, homes and cabins. Wear medicated body powder or food-grade DE mixed in menthol or diluted geranium oil and/or Safe Solutions Insect Repellent to try to repel them. Ticks are extremely hard to control, even with food-grade DE and Safe Solutions enzyme cleaners (1 oz. per quart water.) I have seen ticks covered in DE not die after two weeks but, ticks are repelled by DE. Nothing kills ticks faster than Safe Solutions enzyme cleaners but you must cover the tick with the spray/shampoo. Repeat as needed. Ticks are not insects; they belong to the class Arachnida, which also includes mites, spiders and scorpions. Ticks differ from insects in that they have one body region, eight legs and no antennae. Ticks are the largest members of the order Acarina and are virtually the only members of that order you can see without magnification. The order Acarina (ticks and mites) to which they belong differ from other arachnids in that their bodies are not conspicuously segmented, but the abdomen and cephalothorax are fused into one body region. They can not fly, run, hop or jump; they can only slowly climb up and perch on an object until some unlucky host passes by; then they either climb on or fall on to the unfortunate creature. They feed entirely on blood of vertebrates with barbed, piercing organs; they take a firm grip on the skin and suck blood for anywhere from 15 minutes to several days - they keep on drinking until they are full. There are about 80 species of ticks in the U.S.A., but only a dozen have important health concerns. Ticks are difficult to control! Try a pair of free-range Guinea fowl.
Ticks are further divided into two families: hard ticks in the family Ixodidae, and soft ticks in the family Argasidae. Hard ticks have a hard, smooth shield on their backs and are tapered at the front with an apparent head; they are the ticks most readily recognized by most people. Female hard ticks feed once and lay as many as 10,000 eggs or more. Soft ticks lack the shield-like plate on their upper surface, have a tough, leathery, pitted skin and no distinguishable head and look like animated pieces of bark or debris. Some soft tick females can feed several times and lay 20 - 50 eggs after each meal. Both groups can swell to considerable size after a blood meal. Ticks have 4 stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, nymph and adult.Examine all of your pets’ and livestock’s heads, especially around their ears and necks daily for engorged ticks. Remember, many ticks are about the size of a period before they feed. Some tick bites appear as a right red spot surrounded by a purple ring. Try rolling a masking tape roller (or duct tape) over the bodies and necks of your pets to capture ticks when they come back inside. Keep vegetation, weeds and brush mowed and closely trimmed. Avoid infested areas. Remember ticks cannot burrow through clothing, so always wear protective long-sleeved shirts and trousers when visiting infested areas; tuck your pant legs into your socks. Closely inspect for ticks on your own or others skin or clothing every few hours. Their favorite places to attach to people are on the legs, thighs and groin, in armpits, along the hairline and in or behind ears. Don’t be modest when inspecting for ticks. Remember the ticks may be very small, so look for new "freckles". Vacuum baseboards and other cracks and crevices thoroughly to remove and destroy adults, eggs and immatures. Put salt in the bag to help desiccate them. The best way to remove an attached tick from people or pets is to firmly grasp the tick with a pair of tweezers or forceps as close to the head as possible and gently but firmly pull the tick straight off. Do not heat or pinch the tick with your gloved fingers, tweezers or forceps as this may inject the contents of the tick into the wound. Apply an antiseptic to the bite. Save the tick in a small vial of alcohol so it can be identified. Ticks are of great medical importance because of their ability to act as vectors of five major groups of organisms which cause disease in humans (bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, spisrochaets and protozoans). Ticks can also cause a condition known as tick paralysis. Seek immediate medical attention.
I have written a free chapter on tick control please check out: http://www.stephentvedten.com/20_Ticks_Mites_Mold_Fungi.pdf
Do not forget to wash your pet with Safe Solutions Pet Wash - http://www.safesolutionsinc.com