Seed Ticks on Humans

What Are Seed Ticks?

Ticks develop through four life stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. The larval stage is called seed ticks because of their very small, near poppy seed size.

Female ticks lay eggs in large numbers. For example, a pregnant Lone Star tick female lays an egg mass that can number into the thousands. Upon hatching from the egg stage, the tick larvae will wait for a suitable host to pass by.

How Do Seed Ticks Get On Humans?

If a host comes into contact with the waiting tick larvae, the seed tick gets on the host and begins searching for a place to embed into the host’s skin and proceed to take a blood meal.

Being the first mobile stage in the tick life cycle, seed ticks are very small and often look more like a freckle, small mole or poppy seed and may go unnoticed until their bites begin to cause redness and swelling and itching of the skin that occur as the response to chemicals produced by the feeding seed tick’s saliva.

While not always the case, seed ticks generally tend to feed on the lower parts of the human body. Since seed ticks may transmit some diseases in the process of feeding, it is very important to be familiar with tick bite prevention and removal procedures.

Exposure to seed ticks and the potential of them feeding on a person depends upon several factors. In general, the most important considerations are location and whether preventive measures are used.

Preventing and Removing Seed Ticks

Avoiding Tick Habitats

Ticks prefer habitats with low, scrubby vegetation located in wooded areas or the edge of wooded areas that are shaded for most of the day and near animals that are suitable, preferred hosts.

Wearing the Proper Clothing

When people are either working or involved in recreational activities such as hiking or camping, they should be sure to dress protectively. For example, a person wearing shorts, no socks, flip-flops or low cut sneakers is not very well protected against seed ticks.

However, someone wearing long pants, a long sleeve shirt and boots with the pant legs tucked inside high-top socks is much less likely to have seed ticks get on them when hiking through the woods.

Using Tick Repellents

Using tick repellents is a topic that is often discussed, debated and even sometimes questioned. Therefore, the best advice for using tick repellents is provided by your family doctor, other health care specialists and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Seed Tick Removal

This is another topic that includes lots of myths and misinformation. Therefore, the best answer for tick removal is also provided by medical professionals and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.