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Tick Identification & Species

There are two types of ticks, soft ticks and hard ticks, but you should be most concerned about hard ticks because they feed on humans, pets and even rodents. The American Dog tick, Blacklegged tick and Brown dog tick are a few of the most common ticks Ehrlich pest specialists are asked to eradicate. 

Learn how to identify these common tick species with the information below:


american dog ticks

American Dog Tick

(Dermacentor variabilis)

What Do American Dog Ticks Look Like?

  • American dog ticks are brown with grayish-white spots on their shield 
  • They measure in at 5 mm and when engorged, after feeding, American dog ticks measure in at about 15 mm 
  • Larvae have six legs and adults have eight

American Dog Tick Lifecycle

  • Ticks start off as eggs and then become six-legged larvae 
  • American dog tick eggs and larvae are uninfected but often become vectors for tick-borne illnesses due to feeding off mammals such as rodents

American Dog Tick Facts

  • American dog ticks can be found in low vegetation, grassy areas 
  • American dog ticks don’t do well indoors 
  • This species is also a primary vector of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
brown dog ticks

Brown Dog Tick

(Rhipicephalus sanguineus)

What Does a Brown Dog Tick Look Like?

  • Unfed brown dog ticks appear reddish-brown and recently fed ticks appear blueish-gray 
  • The brown dog tick measures in at about ⅛ inch long and ½ inch wide when fed

Brown Dog Tick Lifecycle

  • This species of tick is found in homes more often than other species 
  • The brown dog tick lifecycle is similar to other species of tick, beginning as eggs, developing into larvae and nymphs and then ultimately maturing into adults

Brown Dog Tick Facts

  • A brown dog tick female can lay between 1,000-3,000 eggs after feeding 
  • These ticks prefer dogs and rarely feed on other animals 
  • An adult brown dog tick can live up to 200 days without feeding
two deer ticks on white background

Deer Tick (Blacklegged Tick or Bear Tick)

(Ixodes scapularis)

Deer Tick Appearance

  • The deer tick is orange-brown with dark legs 
  • Their body has an oval shape and measure in at around ⅛ inch long

Deer Tick Lifecycle

  • A female tick is capable of depositing 3,000 eggs on its mammal host 
  • At each stage of life, the tick must have a blood meal in order to survive 
  • The average lifespan of a deer tick is two years

Deer Tick Facts

  • Deer ticks hatch eggs into larvae from May to September 
  • They feed on mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians 
  • Deer ticks feed between 3-5 days on a host

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