Types of Ticks in Florida

Ticks in Florida

Ticks in Florida may be a problem throughout the year. The adult or the nymph ticks may be active throughout the year. According to sources, people in Florida are affected mainly by the nymphal stages of ticks. Among other areas, the Sunshine state in Florida is highly infected by tick transmission and tick diseases. Learn more about the influence of the specific type of ticks in Florida and how to prevent yourself from getting infected. 

Ticks in Florida

Gulf Coast Tick:

These ticks are present in the southeastern United States. They are transmitters of pathogens such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Nymphs are active during spring. Adults may look for hosts from March through September, whereas you can find the nymphs in February through August. 

Hosts: 

The animals which act as hosts for ticks are large, wild, and domestic mammals such as white-tailed deer, cattle, horses, swine, and companion animals. There may consume the blood of coyotes and goats.

They may cause diseases such as;

  • Rickettsia rickettsii, the causative agent of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
  • Hepatozoon americanum, the causative agent of American canine hepatozoonosis
  • Leptospira Pomona, the causative agent of Leptospirosis 

The Gulf Coast tick may also cause tick paralysis, another condition that releases neurotoxins into the host. This may lead to unusual symptoms like Heavy breathing, salivation, wobbly legs, etc. 

Blacklegged Ticks: 

These ticks are also known as bear ticks or deer ticks. Blacklegged ticks are well-known for spreading tick-borne disease – Lyme Disease. The deer ticks take nearly two years to complete their entire lifecycle. Apart from Lyme disease, they may also be a vector to many tick diseases, including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, Powassan virus disease, etc. 

The larvae and nymphs of blacklegged ticks are active from April through August. The adult bear ticks are active during winter.

Lone Star Tick:

These ticks thrive in regions with underbrush and high grass. They prefer hosts such as white-tailed deer, dogs, cats, and other pet animals. They host them through the process called Questing. Questing is the process where the tick would be present in the grassland with the front legs in the air waiting for the host to stick on. Once the host comes near, they hang on to the host and survive. That is why lone star ticks are generally called the “Questing Tick.”

The diseases they may cause are:

  • Human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia chaffeensis), 
  • Canine and human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia ewingii),
  • Tularemia (Francisella tularensis), and 
  • Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), possibly caused by the spirochete Borrelia lonestari.

American Dog Tick:

These ticks are common in shrublands and grasslands. American dog ticks hosts include raccoons, skunks, cats, dogs, and other canids. Larvae and nymphs mainly infest small mammals such as mice, voles, rats, and chipmunks.

They act as vectors to many diseases, including Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, Bartonellosis, and Hepatozoonosis. 

Brown Dog Tick:

Brown dog ticks are called by other names, including brown dog tick, kennel tick, or pantropical dog tick. The tick name contains dog prominently because the most preferred host of brown dog ticks are dogs.

These ticks can cause the following diseases: 

  • Ehrlichia canis, which causes canine ehrlichiosis,
  • Rickettsia rickettsii, the bacteria responsible for causing Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Babesia canis, is responsible for canine babesiosis.

They can also be vectors of diseases such as :

  • Babesia Vogeli
  • Babesia canis
  • Coxiella burnetii
  • Ehrlichia canis
  • Hepatozoon canis
  • Mycoplasma haemocanis
  • Rickettsia conorii

They prefer all large mammals like dogs. These ticks are three-host ticks. They tend to consume the blood of different animals in various stages of their life cycle from other hosts. Humans may also become prey to these ticks.

What To Do If Bitten By A Tick in Florida?

Follow the steps that might help you safely remove the tick from your body.

  1. Expose the tick by pulling it away from your hair gently.
  2. Use tweezers, grab the tick’s head, and gently pull out the tick from your body. Do not grab the tick’s body as the blood would go in contact with your skin which might lead to infections or tick diseases.
  3. Pull out the tick in a straight motion. Do not twist or turn the tick.
  4. If you develop a rash or fever during or after the process, consult your doctor immediately. 

Make sure you have a tick checklist before your outdoor adventure in Florida.

Conclusion:

Tick population is increasing in the United States, especially in the country’s eastern regions. So, our responsibility is to stay away from ticks and take necessary precautions as recommended by the Florida government.