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What Do Ticks Look Like?

tick on a plant

Ticks are a common nuisance that nobody wants to deal with. With hundreds of different species of ticks common around the United States, knowing what a tick looks like is important. Because they are most common in wooded and grassy areas, ticks are often found on dogs, cats, and even children who play outside. They are most active between spring and summer but can stay active even during winter.

What Does A Tick's Life Cycle Look Like?

Ticks go through four stages of life. When they are eggs or larva, they are much harder to spot. The third life stage, nymphs, are the size of a pinhead. When they grow to be adults, the average size of a tick is between 2 to 6 millimeters. However, a well-fed tick can grow upwards of 10 millimeters in size. It is possible to spot most adult ticks or feel them when running a hand over the animal’s coat or the person’s skin.

For example, a tick will feel like a small bump on a dog or person’s skin. Many ticks look similar to natural moles or birthmarks. Because ticks are drawn to areas with easy access to blood such as the neck, head, ears, and feet, it helps to keep your pets well-groomed in these areas. Regular brushing can help dislodge ticks. People should wear appropriate clothes to cover these areas when in areas that may have ticks. 

A grown adult tick will have a teardrop shape to its body and will grow more round after feeding. They can range in color from gray to dark brown depending on the species of tick. With eight long legs, some unfed ticks may resemble small spiders. When a tick has been feeding for several days, it can grow up to the size of a marble. The skin around the tick may also become reddish and irritated.

How To Identify Ticks

Ticks crawl upward, so make sure to check your legs and feet for small dark spots after coming in from tall brush or wooded areas. These are some of the most common places to pick up ticks. Before they attach and begin to feed, the legs of a tick are more pronounced than the rest of its body. This will help you identify if the small insect is a tick or not. 

Here’s an overview of common tick signs:

  • Small, 8-legged insect the size of a grain of rice
  • Ranges in color from grey, brown, reddish-brown, to black
  • Legs are more pronounced before it begins to feed
  • As ticks feed, they can grow to over twice their original size
  • The skin around the tick may become red and irritated
  • It will feel like a bump or lump beneath a pet’s coat
  • An attached tick can look like a birthmark on human skin 

Because ticks are the carrier of dangerous Lyme disease and other illnesses, it is extremely important to spot and remove ticks as quickly as possible. If you and your family are active outdoors during the warm months, do a quick check for ticks every time you come inside. Your furry friends need frequent tick checks as well in order to catch ticks before they have a chance to feed or spread diseases.  There are preventative products available for both people and pets. Be sure to use pet preventatives regularly to protect them. Apply sprays or wipe tick repellent to people and pets when going outdoors. 

If you have a tick infestation on your property, you should not delay in contacting a professional pest management company. We can eliminate ticks from your yard and protect you and your loved ones from serious tick borne illnesses.

Miche Pest Control Gets Rid Of Ticks & Keeps Them From Coming Back

Miche Pest Control is a family owned and operated pest control company that provides residential and commercial pest control services for ticks and other pests in Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Our expert tick exterminators get rid of all life stages of ticks, and treat preventatively to keep them from coming back. Miche Pest Control has a 4.9 star rating and over 1,000 reviews online - call today or book online!