Ticks & How To Prevent Them!

Tiny ticks, big threat

 On a Louisiana summer day, you wouldn’t suspect you’re surrounded by dozens—possibly hundreds—of ticks wanting to feed on you. Most people don’t see ticks. If they did—if they saw how many are waiting on twigs and leaves and in the brush—they would never go outside again. While small in size, ticks can cause major problems by transmitting dangerous diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain fever. So, before going outdoors this summer, check out the following information to learn more about the biting buggers.

Veterinarians play a huge part in preventing Lyme disease and other infections. We think about controlling ticks as a public health service, if you have a dog maintained on tick control, the ticks the dog encounters are killed, and they’re not in the home or in the environment and able to transmit infection.

Illustration: A small tick and a large silhouette of a tick
Seven of the 17 vector-borne diseases reportable to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are tick-borne. Nine species of tick found throughout North America are known carriers for these pathogens. Of these, Ixodes scapularis, the blacklegged or deer tick, is the most medically important tick species. Not only is the blacklegged tick a carrier for five of the six pathogens, but it is also the primary carrier of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi responsible for causing Lyme disease in humans as well as dogs, horses, and cats.

What Ticks are commonly found here in Louisiana?

Images of life stages of blacklegged tick_CDC

  • Blacklegged tick: Adults attack dogs and deer. Also known as the deer tick. Adults are active in late fall, spring and early winter. Transmits Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan disease.

blacklegged tick, female, male and previous life stages
Credit: Centers for Disease Control

Images of Lone Start Tick_OSULone star tick, male and female
Credit: Oklahoma State University

  • Lone Star tick: These attack people, deer and dogs. Adults and nymphs are around in the spring and summer; the larvae are out in the fall. It can be found mostly in the coastal plain but is also found in the piedmont. The larvae, called seed ticks, prefer humans. These ticks cause Southern Tick Associated Rash Infection, or STARI. The Lone Star tick also causes erhlichiosis.

Life Cycle Images of gulf coast tick_tickinfo


  • Gulf Coast tick: This tick is also present in the Southeast closer to the coast but is more widely prevalent in Alabama. Adult ticks feed on deer. This tick transmits Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis, a form of spotted fever.


Life cycle images of the brown dog tick


  • Brown dog tick: Rarely attacks people but is common on dogs. They like to climb up draperies and walls. They’re found throughout the country, so you’ll encounter them wherever you go. Transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Brown dog tick, photo credit University of Florida





Images of Adult Male and Female American Dog Ticks with millimeter ruler_TAMUtickapp



Credit: TAMU Tickapp

American dog tick: Most common in the Piedmont area. Transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever but NOT Lyme disease.


Images of adult male and female cayenne tick


Cayenne tick: This tick is cold-sensitive but can sometimes be found in southern Florida. They have very long mouthparts, so a bite can be painful and can cause tissue damage. Transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and rickettsia south of the US border.



  1. Ticks are not insects.

    It’s true. Ticks are not insects, although they are often mistaken for them. Ticks are actually classified as arachnids, or relatives of spiders, scorpions and mites. If you look closely at a tick when identifying it, it kind of resembles a spider with its four pairs of legs and lack of antennae.

    Ticks are mini, real-life vampires… They want to suck your blood.

    Did you know that ticks require a blood meal to survive. That’s right! Ticks require blood for sustenance. Blacklegged ticks, for example, primarily feed on the blood of white-tailed deer, but they will also bite mice, small wild animals, birds and humans.


Maps: Selected tick-borne diseases reported to the CDC in 2016
Each dot represents one human case. Cases are reported from the infected person’s county of residence, not necessarily the place where they were infected.No cases of tickborne illness were reported from Hawaii in 2016; Alaska reported six travel-related cases of Lyme disease and one case of tularemia.During 2016, babesiosis was reportable in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.Anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis were not reportable in Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii in 2016.Spotted fever rickettsiosis was not reportable in Alaska and Hawaii in 2016.

Concerning the blacklegged tick, adult males and females are active October through May so long as the daytime temperature remains above freezing. Nymphs are active May through August and are most commonly found in moist leaf litter in wooded areas or at the edge of wooded areas. Both the nymph- and adult-stage blacklegged ticks can transmit infectious diseases


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