Species Spotlight: Rocky Mountain Wood Tick

In addition to expert mosquito control services, we also offer tick control services at Mosquito Authority. Ticks are not only bothersome pests that invade your yard, but they are also vectors for a variety of dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. 

We believe it is essential to educate our customers on ticks, from where they are most commonly found to what diseases they carry. In our last Species Spotlight, we told you some key facts about the Gulf Coast tick, including what their lifecycles look like and how best to avoid them.

In this Species Spotlight, we are highlighting the Rocky Mountain Wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni). Read on for information on this type of tick:

Where do they live?

Rocky Mountain wood ticks are typically found, as the name suggests, in the Rocky Mountain states of the United States (i.e. Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, etc.). These ticks can also be found in some parts of Southwestern Canada. According to the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), they prefer to inhabit scrublands, lightly-wooded areas, and grasslands.

What does their lifecycle look like?

Most ticks go through four stages of life: egg, larvae, nymph, and adult. However, these ticks act differently depending on which life stage they are in. For example, Rocky Mountain Wood ticks prefer to feed on large mammals as adults but typically feed on small rodents as nymphs and larvae. Members of this species usually live for about two to three years.

Are they dangerous to humans?

Rocky Mountain Wood ticks are responsible for spreading a few diseases to humans: Colorado tick fever virus (CTFV), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), and tularemia. Both nymphs and adults of this species can transmit tularemia, while they can transmit RMSF and CTFV while in all stages of life. Because of a certain neurotoxin in their saliva, ticks of this species can occasionally cause tick paralysis.   

Are they dangerous to animals?

Just like with humans, Rocky Mountain Wood ticks can transmit certain illnesses to animals. For example, animals can contract Rocky Mountain spotted fever or tularemia if they are bitten by a Rocky Mountain Wood tick. Animals bitten by these ticks can also experience tick paralysis, as with humans.     

When are they active?

Rocky Mountain Wood ticks, especially adult males and females, are typically active from January to November, but reduce their activity during the summer months. They are most active during the late spring and early summer months of the year. Nymphs, on the other hand, are most active from March through October, and larvae follow the same pattern. 

What do they look like?

According to the NEHA, adult female Rocky Mountain wood ticks resemble American Dog ticks. They are dark brown and cream-colored, while adult males have dark brown bodies with brown markings.

How do I protect myself and my pets from Rocky Mountain Wood ticks?

There are several ways to reduce your risk of being bitten by ticks. Here a few:

  • Check your pets for ticks after they come indoors
  • Remove leaf litter from your yard
  • Avoid grassy or wooded areas
  • Hire a local tick control company

Rocky Mountain Wood ticks are found in many states and can transmit several serious diseases. While it’s important to practice tick control at home, the most effective way to prevent tick bites is by hiring tick control professionals. At Mosquito Authority, we make it our mission to protect you and your family from ticks and the diseases they carry.
Find your local tick control company here.

Species Spotlight: Gulf Coast Tick

Gulf Coast tick

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.