Are There Ticks In Arizona?

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Are there ticks in Arizona? SPOILER: The Answer Is YES

From large to small and brown to black, there are an estimated 850 different types of ticks worldwide, 90 of which are found here in the states – and yes, that certainly means there are ticks in Arizona as well. In fact, not only are there ticks in Arizona but there are more than 25 types of ticks in Arizona alone. Now, the good and bad news is that of those 25ish species, only a select few bite and transmit disease to humans. And you guessed it, can become the catalyst for various critical health concerns ranging from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to Lyme disease. 

That said, if a tick is found on your skin, remove it immediately (and properly) before any disease or infection can be transmitted in the first place. To help you along with that, below is a comprehensive overview concerning all things ticks in Phoenix AZ, and how to prevent them from becoming a problem for you, your family, and your pets. 

First Off, What Is A Tick and What Do They Look Like? 

Not nearly as cute and cuddly as a domestic dog or cat, that’s for sure. Overall, ticks are small animals (yes, animals) belonging to the arachnid family that feed on blood. Ticks have four stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, nymph, and eventually adult. After hatching, a tick must have a blood meal before it can grow and develop into the next phase of life. After molting, the larva will develop in the nymph stage, and later enter the adult phase where the female can begin laying eggs – up to 5,000 eggs before they die! Interestingly enough, ticks in Arizona (and everywhere else for that matter) can live for long periods of time without having a blood meal, up to 2 years. 

As far as size goes, the larvae have 6 legs while the nymphs and adults have 8 legs and range in size from ⅛ in. to ½ in. long. On average, they are around the size of a pencil eraser and grow bigger as they take in more blood. And while they are generally brown to reddish-brown in color, after feeding on a host, they can swell up as big as a marble and may turn a blue-green color. The goal is to get rid of them well before they ever reach that swelled stage. 

Types of Ticks in Arizona 

Out of the several different species of ticks found in the state of Arizona, the most common of which include the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick, the Blacklegged Tick, and of course, the Brown Dog Tick. Based on where you live here in Arizona will either heighten or lower your risk of coming in contact with certain ticks. For instance, if you live in the northern parts of Arizona, you are at higher risk of a Rocky Mountain Wood Tick bite than one from a Blacklegged Tick, as they have very limited distribution (higher elevations of the Hualapai Mountains and only in late winter and early spring)

The Brown Dog Tick is by far the most common tick in Central and Southern Arizona. If you find a tick in the Phoenix metropolitan area, it’s most likely a Brown Dog Tick. As their name implies, these bugs prefer to bite canines over humans, although that doesn’t mean they won’t feed on you if the opportunity arises. They are known for transmitting Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), making them a very big concern for Arizonians. Even more, the Brown Dog Tick is unique in that they are the only species that can complete its entire life cycle indoors. This means if they find their way inside your home, they are there to stay and create an entire tick community. 

Bitten by a Tick in Arizona?

Ticks prefer to bite areas of the body that are moist and warm. If a tick has chosen you as its target, it will more than likely migrate to a conspicuous body part like your armpits, waists, inside and around your ears, groin area, back of your knees, and even inside your belly button. PS: Don’t forget to check your scalp and hair! 

When a tick finds its preferred spot, it bites your skin and begins feeding on your blood, and unlike other bugs that bite and move on, ticks remain attached to your body. The worst part is that they, unfortunately, can start transmitting diseases in as little as a few hours upon embedding themselves in you. That is why removing a tick both properly and fast is so essential to reduce the likelihood of infection. 

If the thought of a tick becoming engorged with your blood is disturbing, you are right. However, it is even more unsettling knowing the diseases they transmit; with tick season year-round in our area, triple checking you and your pets is nothing shy of necessary every time you venture outdoors. 

Ticks In Arizona – Preventive Tips 

Once ticks show up around your home, they can be particularly difficult to get rid of; Multiple treatments are often necessary to completely eradicate them. However, there are some fairly simple steps you can take to be proactive in preventing ticks from moving onto your property. 

  • Because ticks thrive in wooded and grassy areas, maintaining or removing weeds, shrubs, and tall grasses from your property will help keep ticks away.
  • Have all family pets routinely treated, groomed, and checked by a veterinarian for ticks. 
  • Perform tick inspections at home on your pets regularly. Be sure to check between their toes and around their ears. 
  • Limit wildlife activity in your yard to reduce ticks. Rodents, raccoons, deer, etc., are a particular threat when it comes to the spread of tick-borne diseases. The more creatures attracted to your property by birdseed and open trash cans, the higher your chance of ticks invading. 
  • Make sure your pets have tick collars. While they don’t guarantee tick protection, they certainly help. Avoid using collars with propoxur and follow directions carefully. Some collars can be harmful to puppies or cats. Ask your veterinarian which type of collar is best for your pet(s).
  • Install fencing or barriers around vegetation in your yard if you have a pet that roams outside. This keeps them from picking up ticks from your landscaping. 
  • Always wear insect repellent with at least 20% DEET when hiking or walking in areas of vegetation. 
  • If you can comfortably, wear long-sleeved clothing and closed-toe shoes. Doing so helps limit skin exposure. Additionally, consider wearing light-colored and/or bright clothing to help spot ticks easily. 
  • After spending time outside, always check yourself for ticks before heading inside. Don’t forget to check your dog(s) as well!
  • A big part of tick control is routinely treating the pet. Because of that, it is recommended by ASU Extension that pets get checked annually, as ticks can be brought back to the home/yard (even after pest control is issued) if the pet isn’t treated. 

Tick Bite Treatment 

Oftentimes ticks can latch onto you without being detected. But once you eventually discover a tick on you, it is important to remove it immediately as an infected tick can begin transmitting pathogens to you or your four-legged friends in as little as 2 hours after biting. If you come across a tick on your skin, immediately follow the steps below for safe removal: 

  1. Pull back any hair that may be covering the tick so it is completely exposed. 
  2. Using a pair of tweezers, firmly grasp the tick’s head as close to your skin as possible. Be careful not to grasp its body, as this can cause the tick’s saliva to be injected into your body. 
  3. Carefully pull the tick straight up and out of the skin. Don’t pull too hard, jerk, twist, or wiggle the tick, as that can tear it apart and leave a portion of the tick in your skin. 
  4. After the tick is completely removed, place it in a small closeable jar or Ziplock bag with rubbing alcohol. This is in case it is needed later for IDing or is requested to be seen by your doctor. 
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. 
  6. Call a doctor if you notice any redness around the bite wound or develop a fever. 

Conclusion: Are There Ticks In Arizona? 

Are there ticks in Arizona? Yes. Is there a chance you could find one on yourself or on your dog? Also yes. In summary, there are several types of ticks in Arizona, with a select few to be on high alert for, such as the Brown Dog Tick. However, with the right actionable/preventative measures set in place by a pest control company you can trust, this often-scary situation can quickly turn into a fast-remediating one.

Built on a foundation of integrity, we here at Blue Sky Pest Control are state-wide pest control professionals with a core objective to keep you and your family as safe, healthy, and protected as possible. Driven by both passion and mission excellence, we are a dedicated team of experienced technicians renowned for customized treatment plans that free homes of ticks and other unwanted pests. In the end, ticks in Arizona may be a thing, but it doesn’t have to be a problem for you. And when you are ready to improve life quality and step outside without that contingency fear, then give us a call today so we can make that happen for you. 

We serve the entire Phoenix area including Gilbert and Scottsdale. Give us a call to get your free quote or contact us through the form on this page.

Original References

  1. The Brown Dog Tick and Epidemic Rocky Mountain spotted fever in Arizona and northwestern Mexico. Walker et al., 2018. The University of Arizona College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension. Chromeextension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/https://extension.arizona.edu/sites/extension.arizona.edu/files/pubs/az1769-2018.pdf
  2. Ticks in Arizona, Backyard Gardener. Schalau et al., The University of Arizona College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County.

https://cals.arizona.edu/yavapai/anr/hort/byg/archive/ticksinarizona.html

  1. Regions Where Ticks Live: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/geographic_distribution.html

Additional References Used

  1. https://www.pestworld.org/ticks-by-state/arizona/
  2. https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/ticks/brown-dog-ticks/

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