engorged deer tick sits on human hand

Bug of the Month: Ticks

It's officially tick season here in the Midwest. Here is some information about the biology of ticks, as well as common species found in your backyard. We work hard to prevent ticks from entering your backyard, as well as help you understand the best prevention methods.


Ticks are part of the Arachnid family, along with spiders. They are typically 3-5mm in length, with flat, oval-shaped bodies. They are parasitic and feed off the blood of their host. Their bodies will become enlarged when they have recently fed and they grow larger as they continue throughout their life cycle. They are usually black, brown, or red in color, with little markings on them. There are 2 common families of ticks, Ixodidae (hard ticks) and Argasidae (soft ticks). Ticks are found all over the world but flourish in climates that are warm and humid. Ticks travel from host to host and are most commonly transferred from migrant birds.

Common Tick Species Found in the Midwest

According to the Midwest Center of Excellence, the three most common tick species found in the Midwest are the deer ticks, wood ticks, and lone star ticks. All three species are hard ticks and carry diseases such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Rabbit Fever. It’s important to check yourself and your pets for ticks regularly when spending time outdoors. Due to their small size, ticks can often go unnoticed until they have begun feeding and are burrowed into your skin.

Deer Tick

Also called the black-legged tick, deer ticks are one of the most detrimental tick species found in the Midwest. Deer Ticks transmit Lyme disease, which is an infectious disease that causes muscle fatigue, fever, chills, a circular rash, headaches, dizziness, nerve pain, and numbness. If detected early, treatments are more likely to be effective. Late-stage Lyme disease can be more difficult to treat and usually sets in around 6-36 months after the original infection.

Wood Tick

Wood ticks are also called the American dog tick and are the most common tick in the Midwest. This species is active from March-October and is a dark brown color. They transmit Rabbit Fever to their hosts, which causes symptoms such as:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Additionally, they may cause tick paralysis, which happens when a female tick has been attached to the host for several days they are able to paralyze the host. They may also carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but it is rare in the Midwest.

Lone Star Tick

The Lone Star Tick continues to spread north in the Midwest and is most active from April-September. They are distinguished by the white spot on their back, which is larger in females. The rest of their body is caramel brown. Lone star ticks also transmit the bacteria that causes rabbit fever.

Tick Prevention and Treatments with Spidexx

For pets, the best tick prevention is a monthly flea and tick medication. For humans, the best prevention is to wear long sleeves and inspect yourself after spending time outdoors. We offer tick treatments in yards from April-October, which also treats mosquitoes and gnats. Give us a call at (844) 922-7732 to schedule a tick treatment for your yard!

Here is a video about the best way to get ticks out of your skin, if they’ve embedded into it.