Ticks are some of the most common pests in the United States. With over 800 species in the whole world and roughly 90 of them inhabiting the United States, ticks are everywhere. As a company that specializes in tick control, one of our goals at Mosquito Authority is to educate our customers on just how important proper tick control is. Each species of tick is different and it is crucial to understand each one, from where they live to what diseases they spread.
In our last Species Spotlight, we told you about the lone star tick. The lone star tick typically inhabits the eastern half of the United States, feeds on different hosts throughout its lifecycle, and transmits a number of diseases to both humans and animals. In this week’s Species Spotlight, you will learn about a different tick species: the Amblyomma maculatum, otherwise known as the Gulf Coast tick. Read on to learn more about the Gulf Coast tick:
Where do they live?
As the name suggests, the Gulf Coast tick is usually found in states along the Atlantic coast such as Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Ticks of this species can also be found in parts of southern Arizona and other areas along the Gulf of Mexico.
What does their life cycle look like?
The Gulf Coast tick goes through the typical life cycle with four stages: egg, larvae, nymph, and adult. Unlike other ticks who prefer to have only one host throughout their life cycles, such as the brown dog tick, the Gulf Coast tick usually feeds on three different hosts at each life stage.
Are they dangerous to humans?
Like many other species, Gulf Coast ticks can transmit diseases to humans. According to the National Environmental Health Association, ticks of this species are able to transmit Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis to humans. This disease is a form of spotted fever and differs slightly from Rocky Mountain spotted fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Are they dangerous to animals?
Gulf Coast ticks can transmit Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis to both humans and animals. While they will occasionally choose human hosts, these ticks primarily feed on wildlife.
When are they active?
Gulf Coast ticks are active at different times of the year depending on what life stage they are in. As adults, these ticks are most active from June through October. As nymphs, however, they are typically more active from December through March. Gulf Coast tick activity can also vary based on geographic location. For example, Gulf Coast ticks in Texas can be active from May through March.
What do they look like?
Ticks of this species look different depending on their life stage. As nymphs, Gulf Coast ticks are typically dark bluish-gray or a dull white. Adult female and male ticks of this species are dark brown with silvery-white stripes near the tops of their bodies.
How do I protect myself and my pets from Gulf Coast ticks?
Here are some simple and effective ways you can protect yourself and your family from tick bites:
- Gulf Coast ticks often feed on birds and mammals, so discourage any unwanted wildlife from entering your yard by constructing fences.
- Clear tall grass and bushes from around your home.
- If you find a tick on your pet, remove it right away.
- If you are hiking, keep to the center of trails.
- Hire a local tick control company
Now that you know a little bit about Gulf Coast ticks, you can be better prepared and more knowledgeable about tick control. However, the best thing you can do to avoid ticks in your yard is to hire a professional. At Mosquito Authority, we rid your yard of ticks so you don’t have to worry every time you step outside.
To find your local tick control company, click here.