The Bad, The Really Bad, and The Ugly – NH Tick Identification and Disease Information
Southern New Hampshire has two common types of ticks; these are the deer tick and the American dog tick. Lone Star ticks have also been reported but rarely turn up in the New Hampshire area. As ticks go through their life stages (egg, larva, nymph, and adult), they usually change hosts. Young ticks will attach to small animals and be dispersed by them. Nymphs and adults will climb onto grasses, plants, and shrubs in order to gain height to latch onto larger hosts. Adult ticks will even perch on plants for months waiting for a host to come by.
The BIG bad black legged tick!
Deer tick nymphs are the size of a poppy seed and deer tick adults are the size of a sesame seed. Deer ticks are responsible for the spread of Lyme disease, Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis. The highest risk of being bitten by a deer tick occurs throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons. However, adults can also be out searching for a host any time winter temperatures are above freezing. Although rare, it is also possible to contract more than one tick-borne illness at once from a single tick. This is called comorbid tick disease.
The American dog tick
The American dog tick is also called the wood tick, the American dog tick is responsible for the spread of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia. In general, only the adult dog tick will bite humans. The highest risk of being bitten by a dog tick occurs during the spring and summer seasons. Adult dog ticks are about the size of a watermelon seed.
The Lone Star tick
The Lone Star tick is rare in the Southern New Hampshire area. Its reported range reaches to coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island. The adult females are red-brown, with a prominent white dot. The lone Star tick is the vector for Ehrlichia chaffeensis, the agent of human monocytic Ehrlichiosis (HME).
In addition to Spreading Lyme Disease in NH, ticks also spread other tick-borne diseases such as Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis
Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease spread by the black-legged tick. Symptoms include: fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches. Early detection is key and can be treated with antibiotic. Anaplasmosis can be fatal in severe cases and if left untreated.
Babesiosis is another tick-borne disease that’s unfortunately and “up and comer”. Babesiosis is also spread by the Ixodes scapularis or black legged tick. Symptoms often start with fever and chills and may include fatigue, muscle aches, and vomiting. You guessed it – it presents just like the flu. This makes early detection tougher. Treatment medication is available. As always, early detection is best.
If you don’t yet have tick protection in your yard, keep calm and call Mosquito Squad of Southern New Hampshire today!