Tick season is in full swing here in Raleigh, North Carolina! Here is a quick guide to some of the most common ticks you may encounter in the area, as well as any diseases they are known to vector.
Lone star tick (very common in the Piedmont)
- Males: reddish-brown body with six white markings along the edges of the body—two white “I” shapes closest to the head, two white “V” shapes in the middle, and two white “C” shapes at the posterior end of the body
- Females: reddish-brown body with a single white dot in the center
- Nymphs: reddish-orange; no distinct markings
- Disease: Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), tularemia, ehrlichiosis; there is also new evidence that bites by this tick can lead to a red meat allergy or sensitivity
American dog tick
- Males: body looks marbled
- Females: just behind the head is a tan-colored, curved region that some describe as a shield; posterior portion of body is reddish-brown
- Disease: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (NC’s #1 most common tick-borne illness!), tularemia
Brown dog tick
- Males: reddish-brown; no distinct markings
- Females: reddish-brown; no distinct markings
- Disease: N/A in NC but transmits Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in other parts of the US
Deer tick/ Black-legged tick
- Males: dark brown body with a white/tan ring along the periphery
- Females: just behind the head is a dark brown to black curved region or shield; posterior portion of body is reddish-brown to orange in color
- Nymphs: resemble the adult females
- Disease: Lyme disease (not common in NC), babesiosis, anaplasmosis
*Note: Male and female physical descriptions are for adult ticks. Nymphs (immature ticks) may differ in appearance from adults. Nymphs of some species will feed on humans; determining their identity is challenging, as these immature ticks may be as small as 1 mm long. Descriptions of those nymphs most likely to bite humans are included above.
If bitten, record the date of the bite, as well as the identity of the tick. Put the tick in a baggie if you’re able. This will be useful to doctors should you develop a tick-borne illness. Just because you were bitten by a tick does not mean you will become sick. Contact a doctor, however, if you develop a rash, headache, fever, chills, or nausea.
Don’t want to risk a bite this season? Call your Raleigh Pest Control providers at Innovative Pest Solutions for offers and information about our 1-2-3 Pest Control Plans that target ticks in your yard.