There are several tick species in Florida, many that do not bother humans or domestic animals. Ticks are related to spiders and mites, basically ticks are giant mites. Most of the species of concern in Florida are the hard ticks.
Hard ticks are obligate parasites that require one blood meal in each stage (larva, nymph and adult). The species of concern in Florida are 3-host ticks, named because they use three separate hosts for each meal. Hosts may be of the same species, but the tick will attach, feed, and then drop off each time. Ticks seek hosts by climbing up vegetation and waiting for a host to contact them. They alternate between seeking a host in the vegetation, and re-hydrating on the ground. Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not live in trees. Ticks found on your head got there by climbing up after they made contact with you.
The best way to solve a tick problem, is to have a pest control professional properly identify the type of tick and perform the proper treatment. We are highly trained and equipped to handle your situation.
American Dog Tick – Nymphs are usually found on small rodents and as adults are found on larger mammals, including dogs and humans. This is one of the larger ticks in Florida. The adults are typically brown with white markings. They are found throughout Florida in open habitats and grassy areas, but also found along the edge of wooded areas.
Black-legged Tick – Also known as the deer tick in northern areas, it is one of the smaller ticks. The females grow from brown to black to red and black. Nymphs prefer small to medium sized mammals like birds and lizards and as adults prefers larger mammals, such as deer, dogs and humans. In Florida, the nymphs are rarely are found on humans or domestic animals. The black-legged ticks are found throughout Florida, but usually there’s not a large population. They’re mostly found in wooded areas or along the edge of forest.
Brown Dog Tick – This tick can be found throughout the world and prefers dogs in all stages. It is occasionally found on wildlife, but this is rare in Florida. All stages will bite humans, but usually only when there is an infestation and the dog has been removed. This is the only hard tick in Florida that will establish a population indoors, such as houses or kennels. These ticks will hide deep into walls through cracks and crevices between feeding and are very difficult to control once a population is established.
Gulf Coast Tick is usually only noticed in the adult stages, when it attaches itself to humans and domestic animals. It prefers large animals such as cattle and deer. It is golden-brown with white markings. It is generally is rare, but can be found statewide.
The Lone Star Tick is named for the markings on the adult female. They are golden brown with a prominent white spot on the back. All stages of this tick will bite humans and domestic animals with populations large enough to be a pest. It has been found throughout Florida, but large populations are generally found in the north and central areas. With a large range of hosts, it will feed on most mammals in all stages and on birds as nymphs. They are found in both the woods and open areas.