Wood Ticks

Facts, Identification & Control

Scientific Name

Dermacentor andersoni


What Do They Look Like?
  • Legs: As arachnids, mature wood ticks (also known as American dog ticks) have four pairs of legs that allow them to crawl efficiently through their surroundings and the hair or fur of their hosts.
  • Females: Adult females measure approximately 5 mm in length and males about 3.6 mm. They both have grayish patterns on their bodies. However, following a feeding, females may grow to 1.5 cm in length.
  • Males: Male wood ticks are identifiable by mottled gray coloration along their backs. Females bear almost completely gray coloration behind their heads.

How Did I Get Wood Ticks?

Most tick problems start in much the same way. When people don't check themselves and their pets after spending time in tall grass, hiking trails, and wooded areas they may pickup these hitchhikers. Upon detecting and coming into contact with a suitable host, wood ticks embed themselves into the host’s skin and begin to take a blood meal.

How Serious Are Wood Ticks?


Wood ticks do not breed and develop inside homes, but they can still cause problems. While feeding on blood, they may transmit Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and other serious tick-borne diseases. Such ailments bring about a number of symptoms and could even prove fatal without proper medical treatment.

How Do I Get Rid of Wood Ticks?

What You Can Do

In order to avoid wood tick infestations, keep grass around the home well trimmed. Inspect pets and people carefully after outings. Wearing long pants, high top socks, boots, and long-sleeved shirts as well as using tick repellent can also help with prevention.

What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage wood ticks and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep southern wood ticks in their place…out of your home, or business.


Where Do They Live?

The American dog tick is also known as the wood tick and is common wherever domestic animals or livestock dwell. They also thrive in locations where plants, bushes and grasses are accessible to humans. They are found in wooded or grassy areas and may also be referred to as Rocky Mountain wood ticks.

Life Cycle

Adult females detach themselves from their hosts in order to locate suitable locations for egg laying. Inside, engorged female ticks are often found in potted plants. They are also common beneath fallen leaves in gardens. One female is capable of laying 5,000 eggs in a single batch.

After larvae emerge from eggs, they go in search of small hosts, such as mice. They also feed until they become engorged and then drop to the ground to develop into nymphs. In ideal temperatures and climates, wood ticks may develop fully within three months. However, in less ideal environments, their development may span up to two years.

Wood Tick Removal

If you locate a feeding tick, remove it from the victim with tweezers or forceps. Do not squeeze the body of the tick, as this may further transmit harmful bodily fluids. It is also imperative that the mouthparts of the tick be completely removed from the bite site.

Difference between Deer Ticks and Wood Ticks