Seed Ticks

Life cycle of ticks family. By Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Public Domain.

Don’t panic; seed ticks aren’t a new species of tick you need to worry about. Instead, a seed tick is actually the larvae stage of regular ticks, hatching from the eggs of an adult female. 

Although these tiny pests are only about the size of a poppy seed, they can still bite and attach to a host. Knowing the signs of seed ticks is just as important as recognizing adults.

HOW TO IDENTIFY SEED TICKS

Seed ticks hatch and then immediately try to find a host, feeding on the first acceptable host they find. These baby ticks are tiny and look like seeds with six legs, hence the name.


Appearance and Behavior

A soft-bodied tick of the family Argasidae, beside eggs it has just laid. By Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Public Domain.

Female ticks lay eggs in large numbers, but this varies depending on the species.

Lone Star ticks can lay egg masses that include thousands of eggs at a time.

Once attaching to a host, seed ticks will remain for several days. Sometimes, a seed tick will reattach itself to the same host after reaching the nymph stage. 

Some ticks even remain attached to the same host throughout their entire lives. These ticks can survive for long periods of time without food, making them incredibly dangerous and resilient.

HOW DO YOU GET SEED TICKS


Most people and animals pick up seed ticks by coming into contact with the waiting tick larvae. As soon as you brush against a tall piece of grass or other places where the larvae are lying in wait, you are at risk.

These ticks begin feeding on you as soon as they have climbed onto your skin, and look initially like a freckle until your skin starts to react to the chemicals produced by the seed tick’s saliva.


HOW TO GET RID OF SEED TICKS


While seed ticks generally don’t carry infectious diseases, you should know that it is common for these pests to carry pathogenic bacteria. When you are bitten, the tick can then transmit these bacteria into your bloodstream. Common diseases caused by seed ticks include Rocky mountain spotted fever and tularemia.

Therefore, if you find a seed tick on you, your child, or your pet, you must remove it right away. You can use a pair of tweezers to grasp and then remove the tick. You can also use a piece of masking tape to pull out all of the pests at once. If it still doesn’t come out, you can use a specially formulated body lice shampoo to get rid of it. However, you should never use any kind of topical cream or try to remove ticks with your fingernails.

To prevent contracting seed ticks, avoid walking around in tall grass or brush without wearing long pants and a repellent containing DEET. You might also consider applying an insecticide to your lawn to get rid of ticks. Mowing your lawn and trimming back all brush on a regular basis can also help eliminate these pests. If you have a pet, make sure his sleeping area is clean, and consider applying anti-tick and flea medication on a regular basis to keep seed ticks at bay.


Seed Tick Bites


While seed ticks don’t bite as often as adult ticks, they can create just as many problems when they do. These ticks are so small that they can embed themselves into the skin without ever being detected.

Often, people don’t realize they have been bitten until a rash or irritation has occurred. It can be difficult, and nearly impossible, to remove seed ticks from a person’s skin without leaving behind some parts of the tick. This can lead to additional itching and swelling, as well as the increased likelihood of transmitting tick-borne diseases.