While the warm Michigan weather may entice you to sneak outside during the day, don’t forget about the creepy crawly pests that start to come out!
Ticks can carry and transmit various diseases, some of which can have serious health consequences for humans and animals.
Besides the Great Lakes, Michigan is also home to several species of ticks, each with its own habitat preferences and disease risks.
Check out our blog to learn more about the types of ticks in Michigan and how you can stay safe from these blood-sucking arachnids!
American Dog Ticks
American dog ticks, also known as wood ticks, are commonly found in the United States, including Michigan.
These ticks are known for their reddish-brown coloration and distinctive white or gray markings on their backs. While commonly found on dogs, these ticks will also attach to humans and other animals.
Living in grassy or wooded areas, American dog ticks can easily find passing mammals to feast on. Medium and large animals like dogs, deer, rats, and even humans fall victim to these tiny terrors.
Like most blood-sucking pests, American dog ticks require a blood meal to progress through their life cycle and facilitate reproduction.
Without a hearty taste of blood, they can’t lay eggs or develop further.
While American dog ticks are not known to transmit Lyme disease, they can transmit other diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and tick paralysis.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a potentially severe and sometimes fatal tick-borne disease. Despite its name, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can occur in many regions throughout North and South America, not just in the Rocky Mountains region.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever symptoms typically begin within a few days to two weeks after being bitten by an infected tick. Early symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, and a spotted rash that often begins on the wrists and ankles before spreading to other body parts.
If left untreated, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can progress to more severe symptoms, including abdominal pain, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and organ failure. However, with prompt diagnosis and treatment, most people with Rocky Mountain spotted fever recover fully.
Blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks, are one of the most dangerous types of ticks in Michigan and other parts of the United States.
These tiny arachnids have black legs, a reddish-brown body, and an oval shape. They are smaller than other common tick species, such as the American dog tick, with adults measuring the size of a sesame seed.
While they tend to stick to wooded areas and fields with tall grasses, you can find them anywhere across the state— including your backyard!
Lyme disease is a significant concern whenever these sticks bite. The bacterial infection can cause various symptoms, including fever, fatigue, joint pain, and a characteristic bull’s eye rash.
However, Lyme disease is not the only disease that blacklegged ticks can transmit. They can also transmit tick-borne illnesses such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and the Powassan virus.
While prompt removal can help prevent these diseases from spreading, their small size makes them incredibly difficult to spot, especially during their nymph stage.
Personal precautions can help, and proof. Pest Control can help keep your backyard tick-free too!
Lone Star Ticks
Lone star ticks are other types of ticks in Michigan. Still, these pests are typically located in southeastern regions of the United States, like Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri, and along the East Coast, stretching from Maine to Florida.
However, they have expanded their range and can now be found in parts of the Midwest, including Michigan.
Lone star ticks prefer to live in dense vegetation, such as shrubs and bushes. They are most active during the warmer months, typically from April through September, and are often found in areas where people and pets frequent, such as hiking trails, campsites, and parks.
While their name may suggest Texas origins, they’re actually named for the distinctive white spot on the back of adult females, shaped like a star.
Like blacklegged ticks, they’re smaller than American dog ticks. However, don’t let their size fool you!
They are aggressive feeders and can transmit several diseases to humans and animals, including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI).
Additionally, lone star ticks can cause a unique type of allergy called alpha-gal syndrome, causing bitten humans to develop a severe reaction to red meat and other mammal-derived products.
Staying Safe From the Types of Ticks in Michigan
Preventing these types of ticks in Michigan homes and yards can help protect against tick-borne illnesses. Here are some tips to avoid ticks:
Keep your yard well-maintained: Ticks thrive in areas with tall grass, weeds, and brush, so it’s essential to keep your yard tidy by regularly mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, and removing leaf litter.
Create a barrier: You can create a barrier around your yard using wood chips, gravel, or a strip of vegetation between your lawn and wooded areas. This can help prevent ticks from crawling onto your property.
Keep pets treated: Ticks can easily hitch a ride on your pets and bring them into your home, so keep your pets treated with tick preventatives recommended by your veterinarian.
Perform regular tick checks: After spending time outdoors, look for ticks on yourself, your children, and your pets. Check your body and scalp thoroughly for ticks, and promptly remove any you find.
Wear protective clothing: When spending time outdoors in areas with a high risk of ticks, it’s recommended to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and closed-toe shoes. Tucking your pants into your socks can also help prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.
If you find a tick attached to your skin, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp it as close to its surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure to remove it. Removing the tick’s head is vital, so always follow up with a doctor to ensure you’ve removed the pest.
Continue to monitor yourself for symptoms of tick-borne illnesses and seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms.
Preventing and staying safe from many of the types of ticks in Michigan is difficult. But it’s not impossible with proof. on your side!
Contact us to keep your yard free of ticks and your family safe* all year around!
*proof. Pest Control’s treatment does not guarantee protection from tick born diseases