The 3 Types of Ticks You’ll Find on Long Island | with Suburban Exterminating in NY

Ticks are out in force this summer. On Long Island, we deal with three major species of ticks, each with its own specific behaviors, appearances, and risks. Keep reading to learn more about each species you may encounter and how you can minimize your chances of tick encounters this summer.

Most Common Ticks in Long Island

Here in Long Island, there are three main tick species that you’ll come across: Deer Ticks, American Dog Ticks (also called Wood Ticks), and Lone Star Ticks. Though the three seem fairly similar, they have a few key differences—and infestations usually start for different reasons. Here’s what you need to know about each:

  • Deer Tick up close white backgroundDeer Ticks are most known for feeding on deer, especially near deciduous forested areas or humid spots near rivers, ponds, and streams. Their bodies are flat, broad, and oval-shaped. Usually, deer ticks are orange or brown in color, and have darker-colored legs, which is why they’re sometimes called “black-legged ticks.” Most measure around an eighth of an inch. As deer sightings become more popular in our area, so do Deer Ticks. Though they mainly feed on deer, they may also latch onto other mammals, including humans. Since Deer Ticks also require humidity to survive, they’re most often found living in dense, tall grasses and vegetation, and along wooded paths and fence lines.
  • American Dog Tick up close white backgroundAmerican Dog Ticks are one of the most common species in the United States, and odds are, you’ve probably come across them once or twice in your life.  When they haven’t fed recently, these eight-legged pests are a brownish-tan color with white or yellow markings on their oval-shaped bodies. After they’ve feasted on a blood meal, their color is gray, blue, or green. Because of their parasitic nature, American Dog Ticks are often hanging out in the same areas as the warm-blooded mammals they enjoy feeding on. From dogs and raccoons to deer, humans, and more, these pests will feast on just about any mammal.
  • Lone star tick on white background with Suburban Exterminating in NYLone Star Ticks are most common in Texas and other southeast states, but they’re also commonly found in our area. Female Lone Star Ticks are mainly a brown or beige shade with a white spot; males, on the other hand, have scattered spots or streaks along their bodies. Adults are a larger species, measuring in at about 1/3 of an inch long. Most often, Lone Star Ticks can be found in areas with little to no tree cover. If you’re in a grassy field or heading down a walkway with your family or pets, be on the lookout! They’re also attracted to humidity, so they may hide out near bodies of water such as lakes or ponds. 

Which Type of Tick Is Most Dangerous?

When it comes to the dangers of tick bites, each of the three main tick species found in Long Island poses unique health risks. Each species is capable of transmitting serious diseases to both humans and pets, and severe infestations could lead to health conditions like anemia in animals. Here’s why these ticks are so dangerous:

Deer Ticks

These ticks are notorious for transmitting Lyme disease, one of the most common tick-borne illnesses in the United States. Lyme disease can lead to a range of debilitating symptoms, including fever, fatigue, joint pain, and neurological complications. In addition to Lyme disease, Deer Ticks can transmit other pathogens such as Anaplasma, Babesia, and Powassan virus, each capable of causing serious health problems.

American Dog Ticks

While not as well-known for transmitting diseases as Deer Ticks, American Dog Ticks can still pose significant health risks. They are primarily associated with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a potentially severe bacterial infection that can cause fever, headache, rash, and in severe cases, organ damage or death if left untreated. American Dog Ticks may also transmit other pathogens, including Ehrlichia and Tularemia, albeit less frequently.

Lone Star Ticks

 Though more commonly found in the southeastern United States, Lone Star Ticks have also been identified in Long Island and can transmit several concerning diseases. The most notable among these is Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI), which shares similarities with Lyme disease but is caused by a different bacterium. Additionally, Lone Star Ticks can transmit Ehrlichia, causing flu-like symptoms, as well as the Alpha-Gal allergy, an allergic reaction to red meat triggered by tick bites.

How to Keep Ticks Out of Your Long Island Yard

Tick bites can pose health risks, but there are several proactive steps you can take to reduce your exposure to ticks and minimize the chances of encountering them. Here are some tips to help you avoid ticks:

  • Choose Clothing Wisely: When venturing into areas where ticks may be present, opt for light-colored clothing that makes it easier to spot ticks. Wear long sleeves, pants, and tuck your pants into your socks or boots to create a barrier against ticks. Consider treating your clothing and outdoor gear with permethrin, an insect repellent specifically designed for fabrics.
  • Use Insect Repellents: Apply insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin to repel ticks. Follow the product instructions carefully, especially when applying repellents to children. Reapply repellents as needed, particularly if you’re sweating or swimming.
  • Stay on Trails: Stick to well-maintained trails and avoid wandering into dense vegetation, tall grasses, or areas with leaf litter where ticks are more likely to lurk. When hiking or walking in wooded areas, stay in the center of the trail to minimize contact with tick habitats.
  • Check for Ticks Regularly: Perform thorough tick checks on yourself, your children, and your pets after spending time outdoors, especially in tick-prone areas. Pay close attention to hidden areas such as behind the knees, in the groin area, underarms, and scalp. Promptly remove any ticks you find using fine-tipped tweezers.
  • Make Your Yard Less Inviting to Ticks: You can avoid ticks by keeping grass mowed short, removing leaf litter, and creating a barrier of wood chips or gravel between wooded areas and your lawn. Consider installing physical barriers such as fencing to deter deer, which are common hosts for ticks.
  • Protect Pets: Use veterinarian-recommended tick prevention products on your pets to repel ticks and prevent infestations. Check your pets for ticks regularly, especially after they’ve been outdoors. Consider restricting your pets’ access to tick-prone areas or creating tick-safe zones within your yard.
  • Shower After Outdoor Activities: Showering within two hours of returning indoors can help wash away any unattached ticks and provide an opportunity to perform a thorough tick check. Use a washcloth or loofah to scrub your skin, paying particular attention to areas where ticks commonly hide.

What to Do If You Have Ticks

The single most effective way to prevent ticks from infesting the areas near your home and posing health risks to your family is by making your property unsuitable for ticks altogether. To truly ensure your family, pets, and home are safe, your best bet is to have a professional implement an effective solution like our tick control treatments. 

Suburban Exterminating is an award-winning pest control company that can provide long-lasting pest control solutions to get rid of ticks in Long Island, New York. If you have ticks and need fast relief, call us today for help.

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