Get on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains and the dangers of the American dog tick (Dermacentor Variabilis), sometimes-tagged “wood ticks” escalate. Spring and summer bring the highest risk of tick bites and areas around the North Carolina Piedmont Counties make for prime tick territory. After any outdoor hike or walk, check yourself for ticks. Even while biting, they can be difficult to notice.
The following will help you deal with the Charlotte tick season, and the need for serious measures in Carolina tick control:
Basic Traits of Wood Ticks Throughout the Carolinas
Before moving on, we should note that regions outside common areas of tick populations are not immune to infestation by Dermacentor Variabilis. In fact, reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declare the brown dog tick as endemic in Hawaii. Plan your summer vacation accordingly. Now, back to problems with Carolina-based ticks.
Overview of the American Dog Tick
- Typically found in fields, scrubland, and other areas with insignificant tree coverage
- Also favor tall grass, trails, low lying brush and walkways
- Feed on both large and small mammals, including humans
- Transmit disease: Tularemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease
Adult American Dog Tick
- Primarily active April thru early August
- Typically make hosts of medium-sized wildlife as well as domesticated cats, dogs and other pets
- Females can lay as many as 4,000 eggs
American Dog Tick Nymphs
- Active May thru July
- Seldom attach to humans
- Typically feed on smaller animals
- After engorged feeding, nymphs drop away from the host until they molt into adults
American Dog Tick Larvae
- Active late April thru September
- Feed on small to medium hosts
- Molt into nymphs
How to Check for Ticks After Your Outdoor Outing
According to the University of Rhode Island, male American dog ticks feed briefly and then detach. Females, identified by large off-white sputum behind back of head, typically feed until distended with blood. In North Carolina, most tick-borne diseases can be readily treated if caught early. Failure to treat such diseases can result in serious health complications and possibly even death.
The Carolina Thread Trail weaves through Cabarrus, Gaston, Mecklenburg and Union. If you have never walked at least one part of it, you are missing out on a great Charlotte regional opportunity. But just like a summer walk through your own back yard, the Thread Trial, Freedom Park, the Whitewater Center, Crowders Mountain State Park and all the other local trails include risk of ticks and the associated diseases. The following tips will help you check for ticks after an outdoors Carolina outing:
Best Natural Home Tick Defense
Keep grass well-trimmed and indoors/outdoors pets well inspected.
Best Pre-Walk Tick Control
Apply a repellent containing DEET, making sure you hit your shoes and lower legs. Again, USE REPELLENT!
Best Immediate Response to a Tick Bite
Prompt removal helps prevent time for the tick to transmit disease pathogens. To remove, use tweezers and a slow firm straight-out pulling. Be careful not to apply too much force, and also ignore so-called tick removal tricks such as using a hot match or nail polish. Save the dislodged tick for future reference in the event of signs of illness. Wash your hands and the bite area with antibacterial soap and water.
Best Personal Tick Inspection Tactics
Start by running your fingers through your hair, massaging your scalp. Also look wherever clothing is tight, under armpits, groin, waste bands, and such. Check shoes and socks as well as lower pants legs. If possible, change clothes and immediately wash what you were wearing.
Charlotte Tick Control Services
Staying safe during Carolina tick season is serious business. If you are suffering from a home or yard tick infestation, contact us at Carolina Pest Management. We practice safer, greener and more effective pest control near Charlotte.