Pest Spotlight: Blacklegged Tick

Ticks

Summer is the time of year when ticks are most likely to transmit Lyme disease to humans. The blacklegged tick is the only one in the Toronto area that transmits the specific bacteria that causes lyme disease. Being able to identify these ticks and prevent them will be a huge advantage as you get out and enjoy nature this year.

Identification

Blacklegged ticks (ixodes scapularis) are small, anywhere from less than 2 mm to around 5 mm, depending on the life stage. Ticks are flat and oval-shaped with 8 legs, though newly hatched larval ticks only have 6 legs. Female ticks are orange and brown with dark legs, and male blacklegged ticks are reddish-brown in color. The nymphal stage occurs during the summer, and these are the ticks that cause most of the infections in humans. Nymphs are about the size of a pinhead. Ticks rely on blood to live and grow, so they are always on the lookout for an animal or human to feed on.

Tick Prevention

Although the risk of Lyme disease is considered low in the Toronto area, it is still important to take preventive measures to keep ticks away. Ticks are most common in wooded areas or where there are lots of bushes and tall grass. Ticks do not jump or fly, but will wait until an animal or human passes by to attach themselves. Take these steps to prevent ticks:

  • Wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts when hiking in wooded areas
  • Wear light clothing to make it easier to spot ticks
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET
  • When you return home from an outing, shower and remove any ticks you find as soon as possible (risk of disease increases the longer the ticks are attached).
  • Check your children and/or pets for ticks as well
  • Mow your lawn regularly and keep bushes and shrubs trimmed
  • Remove any leaf litter, tree branches, or other debris from the yard
  • Move your children’s play toys away from the edges of the yard and wooded areas

Toronto Tick ControlIf you notice ticks in your yard and around your property, a professional pest control technician can help you get rid of ticks, while keeping your family safe and pets safe. GTA Toronto Pest Control has a proven record, uses the best products, and offers excellent guarantees. For pest control in Toronto, you won’t find better than GTA Toronto Pest Control.

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