Lone Star Ticks
The lone star tick is one of the common North American tick species. This tick feeds on warm-blooded animals, including humans, and is found primarily in the eastern United States. Lone star ticks have also been documented in Illinois.
Measuring only about 3 mm in length, lone star ticks are brown in color and are confused with deer ticks, which are the most common transmitters of Lyme disease. Unlike other tick species, adult female lone star ticks exhibit a white spot on their backs. The bite of the lone star tick is not painful, and victims may not recognize that they have been bitten. However, some individuals may experience an immediate allergic reaction to a lone star tick bite.
Lone star ticks are vectors of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and ehrlichiosis. Because the lone star tick possesses mouthparts that become embedded in the host’s skin, it is important to ensure that both the tick and its mouthparts be carefully removed. The use of tweezers is recommended, and the bodies of ticks should never be crushed in removal.