Do ticks bite humans?

The short answer is yes, ticks do bite humans, as well as dogs, rodents, and amphibians. A 2016 Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report in Vital Signs revealed that over the past thirteen years, tick-borne diseases doubled and represented 77% of all vector-borne disease reports. While “Lyme disease accounted for 82% of all tick-borne cases, spotted fever, rickettsioses, babesiosis and anaplasmosis/ehrlichiosis also increased.” Often, ticks hitchhike into our homes via our four-legged family members but ticks can leap from blades of grass or crawl onto humans when walking in tall grass or thick brush. Adult female ticks need a blood meal to provide enough protein to nourish their eggs so they can grow into the next cycle of their lives from larvae to nymph to adult. While humans may be able to detect ticks before they are attached to your skin, ticks have mouthparts that they sink into human or animal skin, usually without causing pain to their hosts. Burying their mouthparts under the skin, ticks can feed on hosts for several days until they are engorged with blood, then drop off to lay their eggs.

Humans can avoid tick bites by wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants when venturing into tick prone areas, along with insect repellent containing Deet, as well as staying on trails and out of tall grass and thick vegetation. After walking in tick prone areas while hiking or walking, humans should inspect themselves, their children, and their pets for ticks before entering their home.

Pestwise offers tick control across Pinellas County to help keep you and your family safe. Contact us to discuss your tick concerns today.

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