Types of Ticks

Potentially mistaken for insects, ticks are actually arachnids. There are hundreds of known tick species, which can be classified as soft tick and hard tick. Soft ticks are most commonly found in caves or nests. They feed on bats, birds and ground-nesting animals. They encounter humans in campsites and caves. Hard ticks feed upon the blood of reptiles, birds and mammals, including humans, wildlife and domestic animals.

Both tick types bite hosts and suck their blood. Hard ticks pass from one stage of development to another following each blood meal. Hard ticks undergo distinct larval, nymphal and adult stages. Soft ticks undergo a series of molts and feed more often than hard ticks.

One of the most common tick species is the American dog tick. These ticks feed on small mammals during their early development stages but often transfer to human hosts. They are vectors of the causes of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. They also can cause tick paralysis.

The blacklegged tick is also known as the deer tick. Young deer ticks are active in spring and early summer, while adults are active in spring and fall. These ticks are known to be vectors of Lyme disease.