There are two common groups of ticks, the “hard” ticks (Ixodidae) and the “soft” ticks (Argasidae). Although there are a lot of different species in the two groups, there are only a few ticks likely to be encountered by people: the American dog tick, lone star tick, blacklegged tick, brown dog tick, and winter tick.
Like spiders, ticks have eight legs. Depending on the species, they range from 1/8th to 1/2 of an inch in length.
Tick species are found all over the United States; however they thrive in warm, humid climates with long vegetation. Ticks wait for host animals on the tips of grasses and shrubs. When brushed by a moving animal or person, they climb onto the host.
Ticks typically nest on their host, but are commonly found in areas where there is high grass and shrubbery. Ticks are external parasites that live on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians.
The best way to prevent ticks is to make sure the property around your home is unattractive to ticks. Keep your grass mowed and cut weeds frequently. Clean up items that might attract rodents, such as birdseed and old wood piles. Free roaming dogs and cats are much more likely to get ticks than pets confined to the home or yard, so make sure to frequently examine your pets.
You don’t actually feel anything when a tick is biting you, and the majority of people don’t experience symptoms and may never even know they were bitten. However, some symptoms may include fever, shortness of breath, weakness, vomiting, swelling, weakness, headache, confusion, or palpitations. Some species of ticks have been known to transport diseases like Lyme disease. If you believe you have been bit by a tick consult a medical professional.