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.

Tick Control: Diseases in Animals

At Mosquito Authority, we make it our priority to protect your entire family– including the furry members. A big part of ensuring the safety of your dogs and cats is knowing that they are safe from ticks and tick-borne diseases. That’s why we take tick control seriously; so you can have peace of mind every time your pets are enjoying the outdoors.

You probably know that getting bitten by a tick puts your pet at risk for Lyme disease. However, ticks can spread numerous other diseases to animals as well, and can even infect your pets with more than one at a time. 

Here are some tick-borne diseases that can be transmitted to animals:

Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is transmitted by the wood tick in the western United States and the American dog tick in the eastern part of the country. It’s important to frequently check your pets for ticks, because they can contract Rocky Mountain spotted fever after a tick has been on them for five hours. When infected with this disease, dogs can experience joint pain, reduced appetite, liver damage, heart problems, or other serious symptoms.

Anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis is transmitted by deer ticks and western black-legged ticks. Both dogs and cats can contract this disease. If your pet has been infected with anaplasmosis, they may experience vomiting, joint pain, and nervous system disorders, among other things. 

Tularemia

Tularemia can be transmitted by three different ticks in the United States: the dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum). This disease, also known as rabbit fever, usually affects cats more often than dogs. There is no preventative vaccine for tularemia, but it can be treated with antibiotics.

Babesiosis

Babesiosis is one of the more serious illnesses caused by tick bites. Usually caused by a bite from an Ixodes scapularis tick (deer tick), most cases of this disease are found in the northeastern and Upper Midwest areas of the United States. Babesiosis can cause severe problems in dogs, including high fever, depression, shock, and even death. 

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is one of the more commonly known tick-borne illnesses, and a significant reason why we practice tick control. Like Babesiosis, Lyme disease is primarily reported in the Upper Midwestern and northeastern United States and transmitted by the deer tick. It usually takes about 48 hours for a tick to transmit Lyme disease to its host, so be sure to check your pets for ticks often and remove them as soon as possible. Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include fever, swollen joints, and reduced appetite.


Practicing tick control and preventing tick-borne illnesses is an important part of making sure your pets are happy and healthy. Click here to find your local tick control company.

For more information on tick-borne diseases, visit the CDC website

Species Spotlight: Lone Star Tick

With approximately 90 species of ticks inhabiting the United States, it is important to know what to look out for and how to prevent these pests. As a local tick control company, we at Mosquito Authority take tick control seriously not only because these pests are a nuisance, but also because they pose potential health risks. No two tick species are exactly the same, however, so it is crucial that we understand the differences between them.

Last week we told you all about the blacklegged, or deer, tick: where they live, what they look like, who they prey on, and more. In this week’s Species Spotlight, you will be learning about a different type of tick: the Amblyomma americanum, otherwise known as the lone star tick. Read on to know exactly what to look for when it comes to the lone star tick:                               

Where do they live?

The lone star tick can be found in the eastern half of the United States, all the way from Louisiana to Maine. However, they are particularly common in the southeastern states of the country. These ticks are often found in dense woodlands.

How long do they live?

The life cycle of the lone star tick is very similar to that of the deer tick, as it goes through the typical four stages of life: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and adult. Lone star ticks need to have three different hosts throughout their lives, as they need a new blood meal to move on from each life stage. 

Are they dangerous to humans?

The short answer is yes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lone star ticks are highly aggressive towards humans. Humans are not only in danger of being bitten by these ticks, but also for contracting diseases from them. The lone star tick is responsible for transmitting illnesses such as ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Heartland virus disease, Bourbon virus disease, Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. These ticks are most likely to bite humans as nymphs or adult females.

Are they dangerous to animals?

Lone star ticks can get their blood meals from both humans and animals. Because of this, animals are also at risk for contracting diseases from these ticks. Lone star ticks can transmit diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia to animals.

When are they active?

According to the CDC, the greatest risk for getting bitten by an adult lone star tick exists from the early spring through late fall. Nymphs are usually active starting in May while larvae begin searching for small animals to feed on in July.

What do they look like?

Lone star ticks have a unique appearance. Adult females of this species have a white dot, commonly referred to as a “lone star,” on their backs. Male lone star ticks are distinguished by having white spots or stripes around the edge of their bodies.

How do I protect myself from lone star ticks?

You can help protect yourself and your family from lone star ticks with some of these common tick control techniques:

  • Mow your lawn frequently
  • Construct fences to discourage wildlife from entering your yard
  • Remove old furniture and trash from your yard
  • Hire a local tick control company 

Now that you know a little bit about lone star ticks, you can better protect your home and family from these pests. Our mission at Mosquito Authority is to ensure your home is tick-free so you can have peace of mind in your outdoor space.


To find your local tick control company, click here.

Species Spotlight: Deer Tick

Did you know there are 90 species of tick in the United States and roughly 850 worldwide? With many of these species being vectors for diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, knowing how to prevent ticks around your home is crucial. 

To be able to understand and practice proper tick control, it is important to educate yourself on these arachnids. Knowing how they spread disease, where they live, how they find hosts, and more is vital for protecting yourself and your family from ticks. 

One of the most common species of ticks in the United States is the Ixodes scapularis, also known as the blacklegged tick and commonly referred to as the deer tick. Read on for more important information about this species of tick:

Where do they live? 

Blacklegged or deer ticks usually inhabit the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, or north-central areas of the United States. 

How long do they live?

Like most other tick species, the deer tick goes through four stages throughout its life: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged larva, and adult. This entire life cycle usually lasts around two years. The deer tick is most likely to bite humans as a nymph and as an adult female.

Are they dangerous to humans?

There are several tick species that spread disease to humans, and the deer tick is one of them. Diseases transmitted by these ticks include Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, B. miyamotoi disease, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and Powassan virus disease. Some of these illnesses are serious and can even result in death. Humans are considered “accidental hosts” for these ticks, as they prefer to feed on large animals.

Are they dangerous to animals?

As their name suggests, the deer tick’s preferred host is a deer. When an infected deer tick feeds on a deer, however, the host animal usually does not become infected with the disease. 

When are they active?

Deer ticks in the adult stage of life are typically active October through May. However, they may be active for longer or shorter periods of time, depending on the weather. As long as temperatures outside stay above freezing, there is a chance these ticks are active.

How do they find their hosts?

Because they cannot fly or jump, ticks rely on other methods of finding hosts. The majority of ticks find their hosts through a process known as “questing.” When a tick is questing, it holds onto a leaf or blade of grass with one pair of legs and waits with another pair of legs outstretched. When a potential host walks by, the tick then latches onto it. These arachnids usually quest at knee-height. Deer ticks prefer large hosts such as white-tail deer or other mammals.

What do they look like?

Deer ticks are known for having a brownish color but can sometimes be more reddish or rust colored. Adult male deer ticks are usually smaller than females and brown in color, while adult females are bigger and can vary from red to brown. 

How do I protect myself from deer ticks?

As with all ticks, there are several things you can do to protect yourself and your family from deer ticks. Some common tick control methods include:

  • Clearing your yard of leaf litter
  • Mowing your lawn often and keeping grass/bushes short
  • Keeping playground equipment away from trees and yard edges
  • Stacking wood in dry areas
  • Hire a professional tick control company

Ticks are not only a nuisance but also health risk to you and your family. A key component of keeping your life tick-free is hiring a professional pest control company. At Mosquito Authority, we offer tick control services with no contracts and no commitments to ensure your family is safe from ticks and the diseases they carry.

To find your local tick control company, click here.

Common Tick and Mosquito Myths

As a mosquito and tick control business, we know it is important for our customers to have all of the facts when it comes to these pests. Think you know all there is to know about mosquitoes and ticks? Here are some commonly-believed myths about these pests that might surprise you:

Myth: All mosquitoes bite

While it might seem like every mosquito on earth is out to bite you as soon as you step outside, that is actually not the case. The truth is only female mosquitoes bite humans, as they need blood to lay their eggs. Male mosquitoes, on the other hand, only need to feed on nectar and other plant nutrients.

Myth: Ticks find their hosts by falling or jumping from trees

While this is probably the most widely believed “fact” about ticks, it is a myth. Ticks lack the ability to jump and fly, so they will climb up a blade of grass or some shrubbery and wait until a human or animal brushes by. This is why trimming tall grass and other foliage around your yard is a common method of tick control.

Myth: Citronella candles are 100% effective

While citronella candles work to some degree as mosquito deterrent, they are not totally effective. In fact, regular candles probably work just the same as those with citronella in them. The amount of citronella oil used in candles is very small, so using a DEET repellent is a much more powerful deterrent.

Myth: Ticks die off in the winter

It is a popular belief that ticks, along with most other summer pests, die off in the winter. However, some species of tick, such as the Ixodes scapularis (blacklegged tick) and Ixodes pacificus (western blacklegged tick), can actually survive the colder months. Temperatures have to be below freezing for ticks to die, so there is a good chance ticks will still be around if you live in a warm region of the country.

Myth: Mosquitoes are more attracted to people with “sweet” blood

There is a common myth that mosquitoes tend to bite certain people who have “sweet” blood. However, this is not true. In fact, the taste of a person’s blood has nothing to do with his or her risk of being bitten. According to the CDC, Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and the lactic acid in our breath, so the odors we release play a big role in how attractive we are to these pests. 

Studies have also shown that mosquitoes are more likely to bite those with Type O blood rather than Type A, so your blood type might actually be contributing to your mosquito bites.

Myth: Drinking alcohol does not attract mosquitoes

Studies have shown that drinking alcohol, particularly beer, increases your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. In a study published by the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, researchers discovered that the percentage of mosquito landings on people greatly increased after beer drinking. In other words, make sure you are wearing extra mosquito repellent if you are planning on having a drink outside.

We take mosquito and tick control seriously so you and your family can have peace of mind in your outdoor space. Contact a Mosquito Authority location near you to take back your backyard and check out our other blogs for more information on these pests.