There are over 899 species of ticks scattered throughout the world, 40 in Canada alone, in search of the same goal: a warm-blooded host. Black-legged deer ticks, for example, reach out to warm-blooded hosts including deer and humans or bury themselves under leaves in the wintertime to seek shelter and comfort. If you are following our blog, you have heard this before: deer ticks do not die in the winter; but instead they become dormant. The Lone Star Tick, commonly referred to as the Lone Star or Seed tick, is a relatively new species of tick that researchers are learning more about each day. Here is what we know about lone star ticks:
Lone Star females are pronounced by a single white dot or star in the center of the back shell. The males have black veins on their "shield." Both males and females will travel large distances in search for a host and crawl, as ticks of this nature do not jump or fly. They are found during the months of May-early August in wooded areas in the Southern and South Central states of the United States. Although their first meal of choice would come from humans, they will choose a dog, cat, deer or other animal to feast upon, if necessary.
Unlike some black-legged ticks, Lone Stars do not transmit Lyme Disease. Individuals that are bit by a Lone Star Tick, however, often receive a similar rash that is seen in early-stage Lyme Disease patients. The rash may be accompanied by fatigue, headache, fever and muscle/joint aches - sometimes misdiagnosed and treated as the flu. Although they do not transmit Lyme, they are aggressive to humans, and can carry pathogens causing Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
There are ways to prevent being bitten by a Lone Star tick, as other species of woodland ticks. Wear protective clothing and spray insect and tick repellents around your property and on yourself when you venture outside for outdoor entertainment. Apply insect repellents on your ankles with care, as we mentioned, ticks crawl from the ground up. If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove the tick with a Tick Removal Tool and visit your doctor to evaluate you for possible Lyme Disease. If it is not a Lone Star Tick, you will have approximately 24-48 hours to remove the tick before the possible transmission of Lyme.
Keep checking the DeerbustersCanada blog to learn more about common deer ticks in Canada.
(Blog post courtesy of Deerbusters.com.)