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Ticks are small arachnids, part of the order Parasitiformes. Along with mites, they constitute the subclass Acari. Ticks are ectoparasites, living by hematophagy on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. Ticks are vectors of a number of diseases that affect both humans and other animals.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks. Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.
Ticks might be small bugs, but they can cause big problems for your dog.
Check your pet for ticks every day if she’s been in a grassy or woody area, no matter where you live. While these pests are more common in certain parts of the country, like the Northeast, they lurk in every state in the continental U.S.
Ticks feed on blood. When one of them bites your dog, it can pass on illnesses like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Both of these can cause stiffness, joint pain, and other health problems.