Ticks vary in color by species. Adult ticks can be smaller than a sunflower seed (over 1 cm long if engorged with blood), while tick larvae can be less than 1 mm. Common problem ticks include the American dog tick, deer or blacklegged tick and lone star tick.
Often found near wooded and highly vegetated areas. Some species require moisture to survive. Females and males of most species feed on blood of mammals, birds and reptiles. Each tick species does have a preferred host, although most ticks will feed on whatever blood is available to them. Thus, ticks are known to bite livestock, deer, humans, dogs and cats.
There are four stages in a tick’s lifecycle – egg, larval, nymphal and adult. Ticks have only six legs during their larval stage and eight legs during their nymphal and adult stages. They consume blood meals during all stages. Pathogens, or organisms that cause diseases in the animals they infect, can be passed through the stages of a tick’s life cycle.