The adult male is flattened, 1/8- to 3/16- inches long. Before feeding, the female resembles the male generally in size. However, the marking only covers 1/3 of the body.


The adult male is pale whitish or yellowish marking over most of its body. The male does not increase greatly in size upon feeding. Before feeding, the female resembles the male generally in size, shape and color. When fully engorged, she is bluish gray.

Found in grassy meadows and wooded areas, also near barns, kennels, and anywhere that animals are kept The American dog tick has a fairly wide host range. Dogs are a preferred host but adults commonly infest both large and medium sized mammals such as cattle, deer, raccoons, and opossum. The immature stages may feed on these same hosts but prefer to infest smaller mammals such as meadow mice, squirrels, and chipmunks. All stages of the American dog tick will also feed on humans if given the opportunity.

Adult ticks bite humans and are found in grass, shrubs, brush, and other vegetation--particularly along animal trails or footpaths. When brushed by a moving body, they quickly let loose of the plant on which they are resting and attach to the animal or human.

Blood. They feed on a wide variety of mammals, including white-footed mice, voles, chipmunks, raccoons, squirrels, dogs, cats, and people.

The American dog tick can be a carrier of several infections of humans including tularemia, rabbit fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and is one of the species commonly involved with tick paralysis.

American Dog Tick Prevention Tips

Control of American dog ticks in outdoor areas is extremely difficult. While several insecticides are labeled for outdoor tick control, they are usually not effective in eliminating large numbers of ticks in brushy, heavily wooded areas. There are, however, some management techniques that can discourage a buildup of ticks in these areas. Modifying the habitat is a more permanent approach to tick management. Since ticks must be in areas of high humidity in order to survive, they are most commonly found in grassy, brushy, wooded, and shaded areas. Therefore, reducing the humidity in these areas by keeping grass well-clipped, removing brush, and pruning trees to allow more sunlight to penetrate to the soil surface will discourage ticks from becoming established in these areas.

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