Ticks have become one of the most feared biting pests — they are not insects, and are, in fact, related to spiders and scorpions — because of their ability to transmit Lyme Disease. But of the most common ticks in the New Jersey area, only one of them transmits the disease, and the others are relatively harmless when they bite.
Lone Star Tick
This tick is so named because adult females, the ones who bite, have a small white spot on their backs, which essentially looks like a little star. Males and nymphs have no star, and all of their bodies are rounded.
American Dog Tick
This is another harmless tick that has an oblong body shape. Adult females have a white collar across the top of their backs, while adult males have blotches of white on theirs. Nymphs are a uniform dark color.
Of the common ticks found around New Jersey, this is the tick that carries Lyme Disease. Only the females and nymphs feed and therefore, transmit the disease to a human host. They have a teardrop shape, and females have a dark red lower abdomen. Nymphs are uniformly reddish-brown in color
For more information on ticks in the New Jersey area, contact the Stern Environmental Group. We have the latest on how to identify and protect yourself against these pests, and we can answer all of your tick related concerns.
Beware. If you go for a hike in the woods, you could bring home a new tick disease that has hospitalized victims in Missouri. Discovered by researchers from Missouri Western State University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the new disease is carried by lone star ticks.
Named the Heartland Virus, the new tick virus travels through the victim’s blood. Ticks become infected as larvae when they feed on virus-infected birds and animals. When larvae mature into adults they can transmit the virus to humans. The greatest risk of infection occurs in the spring and early summer. While New York and New Jersey are home to several tick species, lone star ticks are more likely to attack humans.
Distinguish by a single white dot, or “lone star,” on the female’s back, lone star ticks are reddish brown with flat, oval bodies. Small, just 1/6 to 1/4 inch long before feeding, they double in size when engorged. Previously relegated to southern states, the lone star tick has gradually expanded its territory. It is now found throughout the Midwest and in coastal regions along the Eastern Seaboard as far north as Maine. All of New Jersey and the southern half of New York State are affected by this new threat. Because these ticks are sensitive to sunlight they are typically found hiding in low-growing vegetation in shady, wooded areas.