If you’re outside this summer you have a good chance of encountering ticks at some point, whether they’re crawling on you, your clothes, or the dog. Some ticks may be relatively easy to see—such as dog ticks or an adult tick—but some, such as seed ticks, are not.
Seed ticks are ticks that have just hatched and passed through the larval stage. They are the nymph (or baby) stage of ticks and they can be as small as the period at the end of this sentence. While they are tiny (think little black dots with legs) they still feed on blood and can pass along tick-borne diseases as easily as adult ticks. Some of these diseases include Lyme Disease and the Powassan Virus.
Female ticks lay nests of several hundred to a few thousand eggs, and you’re most likely to encounter seed ticks near these nests. Eggs are the first stage of a tick’s life. Once they hatch they become larva, and then they become a nymph (or seed tick) before finally going on to become an adult. The size of a poppy seed, these tick nymphs are extremely hard to notice. They are part of the life cycle of all types of ticks, including the lone star tick, which has been particularly troublesome this summer season.
Are Seed Ticks Dangerous?
Just because they’re small doesn’t mean seed ticks don’t pack a punch. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seed ticks are actually the most likely to transmit Lyme disease or another tick-borne infection to humans than ticks at other stages, in part because they are so difficult to see and may remain on the body for so long. Their saliva contains an anesthetic, which means you are highly unlikely to feel their bites and, while they may not attach right away, it has now been shown that certain tick-borne illnesses—such as Babesiosis—can be transmitted within minutes of being bitten. Seed ticks are most active in the spring and summer months, so now is the time to be aware of them and the problems they can cause.
Having your yard treated for not only these tiny ticks but also their adult relatives is the best way to stay safe while at home. Aronica Plant Healthcare offers a family and pet-safe spray that can keep your yard safe from ticks. While away from home, make sure to use a repellent containing DEET to keep your family safe. Long pants and sleeves are also a good method to protect yourself if you are out near grassy or wooded areas. Remember, if they can’t reach your skin, the ticks can’t bite you.