Pest Identification: Lone Star Ticks in Tennessee
Although the lone star tick isn’t exactly a pest you’d find in your Tennessee home or business, you might just find one on you. The lone star tick has begun to make its way across the U.S. but is commonly found in the south, especially in the woodsy parts of Tennessee and in tall grassy fields. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you know ticks can carry several life-long diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. However, the lone star tick is unique in that it carries a protein that can cause its bitten host to develop an allergy to beef and pork.
How to Identify Lone Star Ticks
The lone star tick gets its name from the white dot or “lone star” mark found on the back of the female tick. The male lone star tick has white streaks or spots along the edges of their shield-like body. While both the male and female can bite, the female and nymph are more likely to bite. Other than its distinctive markings, the lone star tick’s body and legs are a reddish brown with the female measuring up to 1/8th of an inch and the males a little bit smaller than that. The female can measure up to ¼ of an inch after engorging herself on a meal, and her body will take on a silvery appearance. Lone star ticks are generally found in densely wooded areas like hiking trails or tall grass that you might see in an open field.
Lone Star Tick Bites, Diseases, and Prevention
When a lone star tick has chosen a host to feed on, they will feed for seven days unless found and removed. Of the diseases these ticks can carry, the most concerning is Alpha-gal syndrome, which is an allergy to mammalian meat. When the lone star tick feeds, it also introduces the alpha-gal protein, which is not typically found in humans. This allergy is generally life-long, but there is a possibility to grow out of it. Other tick-borne illnesses these ticks carry are Heartland virus and southern tick-associated rash illness.
If you’re hiking or know you’ll be in an area where ticks are likely to be found, use a bug spray that contains DEET or citronella if you’re using a natural bug spray. It also helps to wear long sleeves and tuck the cuffs of your pants into your socks to minimize access points to your skin. After being in an area where ticks are present, be sure to check yourself and others thoroughly. If you find a tick on you or someone else, remove it as soon as possible.
Keep Lone Star Ticks Off Your Lawn with U.S. Pest
Keeping your grass cut low and bushes trimmed back may help reduce the number of lone star ticks in your yard. Address any mice or rat problems around your home, as they can also bring these ticks into your home. If you live close to a densely wooded area where these pests lurk, it might be time to consider a treatment plan with U.S. Pest. We’ll help you identify where these ticks might be hiding around your yard and how to treat them. Want to protect your family and pets from lone star ticks? Schedule your free consultation with our knowledgeable pest technicians today.
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