Getting to Grips With the Different Types of Ticks

Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are a constant concern, so it is critical to learn about common ticks in Massachusetts. When you know which ticks are prevalent in the area and their life cycles, you know how to manage this pest. Then, you can call us so that you know when to spray for ticks in Massachusetts to protect you and your property from these disease-carrying pests.

What Are Ticks?

Ticks are a part of the arthropod classification that belongs to the Arachnida class of creatures. They are also classified under the parasitiformes suborder and Ixodida order of insects.

There are three types of ticks, each with many species. The three tick families are the Ixodida (hard ticks), Argasidae (soft ticks), and Nuttalliella. Nuttalliella’s various physical characteristics distinguish it from the other two, and it is also only found in Africa.

Essentially, ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of living animals. These parasites also have a unique characteristic in that they must shed their exoskeleton periodically to keep growing.

Massachusetts has high levels of tick populations, with some counties experiencing lower levels and others being high-risk regions. Because ticks pose such a threat to your health, it is important to understand more about their life cycle and the diseases they carry to protect yourself.

The Tick Life Cycle

Ticks tend to inhabit grassy areas and woodlands. They’re most active in the warm months, but this activity varies between species. Notably, many tick species carry diseases that threaten the health of people and animals.

Another significant fact about these common pests is that they go through several life cycles: the egg, larva, nymph, and adult. They also have different host and feeding preferences during each stage, depending on the species.

Life cycle information is critical in helping you to identify the extent of the threat you face. Understanding these phases is also vital for pest control to know when to spray for ticks in Massachusetts.

Egg stage

Ticks typically live for about two to three years and lay thousands of eggs. Female ticks lay their eggs in spring. Because they can’t lay their eggs on live hosts, they lay them in leaf litter and other warm, protective vegetation.

Larva stage

The larva has six legs and hatches after two weeks to two months, usually in the summer. When they do, they must have a blood meal to survive. At this time, the larva can become infected by feeding on a diseased host.

Tick larvae feed on small hosts such as squirrels, raccoons, and white-footed mice. The white-footed mouse is a reservoir for Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Ticks pick up other diseases from their hosts. When they do, they carry the bacteria until they die and transmit these between hosts. Because of this, they are known as nature’s dirty needles.

One exception is the adult tick which can carry Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF) and transfer this disease to its eggs. The offspring can spread this disease to its animal and human hosts.

Nymph stage

After the first blood meal, the larva falls off its host and molts to become a nymph. Nymphs transform into this new stage in the fall and springtime. They are more active when the weather is warmer (37 degrees Fahrenheit or more). They have eight legs and feed for up to five days on blood meals before moving into the adult phase.

While in the nymph stage, they can pick up and spread diseases and acquire new ones. The nymph can undergo up to five growth phases depending on the tick species. Different tick species also have one to three different types of hosts.

Adult stage

Depending on the tick species, the most common times for ticks in Massachusetts are from March to August and October through to November, when they typically transform into adults in the fall.

Depending on their type, they will move to a third host during this period. If they can’t find a host in winter, they will lie dormant until the warmer months. Once it has had its last meal, the tick will die or mate. After mating, the male tick dies, and the female tick dies after laying eggs.

Common Ticks in Massachusetts

Now that section is out of the way, let’s look at the many different types of ticks in Massachusetts.

  • Rabbit tick: Harmless to people and domestic pets.
  • Winter tick: Harmless to people and domestic pets.
  • Brown dog tick: These ticks are harmful to people.
  • Lone Star tick diseases: These ticks carry diseases that are a threat to human and animal health.
  • Deer ticks are also known as the Eastern black legged tick: Lyme and Powassan diseases.
  • The American dog tick: Lyme disease.
  • Groundhog tick: Powassan disease.
  • Asian long-horned tick: Carries harmful disease-causing bacteria for people and animals.

You can learn more about illnesses carried by ticks in Massachusetts (Link to, How To Protect Yourself from Tick Diseases in Massachusetts).

Because Lyme and Powassan diseases are more prevalent in the area, it’s essential for our customers to recognize the last four ticks on the list.

Most people ask what % of ticks in Massachusetts have Lyme. One answer places this figure as high as 40 to 50 percent. Your most significant concern should be Massachusetts deer ticks, the biggest culprits in Lyme and Powassan diseases.

It’s important to understand that the black legged tick (deer tick) must be on a person for up to 24 hours to transmit any diseases. Other ticks only need to be on you for four hours to transmit bacteria.

Where Can I Find a Person to Spray Yard for Ticks in Massachusetts?

You’re in luck. Safer Nature works in Massachusetts, and we’ve been helping our customers with tick and pest control for decades.

We offer safe organic tick and mosquito pest control treatments for you and your pets. Our organic solutions include ongoing protection by building barriers to further invasions, so they are also comprehensive and long-lasting.

Our traditional pest control solutions are equally effective in zapping and maintaining control of ticks and other pest populations.

Contact us now for a free pest control quote that works best for your situation. Whether you prefer the organic or traditional method, you’re choosing to keep your family safe from disease-carrying ticks.

Both options are effective. Both methods provide you with peace of mind, which is priceless.