Ticks

Tick Identification Guide

Learn What Ticks Look Like

  Print Article By DoMyOwn staff


Overview

Ticks are small arachnids that are parasitic, which means they feed on the blood of humans and animals. Several species of ticks are medically significant to humans and pets as they are vectors for disease.

While each tick species has different markings and coloring, fortunately the tick control process is the same for all ticks.

Use our guide below to learn how to identify ticks. If you do have ticks, continue to read our guide to learn how to get rid of ticks, how to find ticks in your home or yard, and how to stop ticks from entering your home.


Size
There are 4 life stages of a tick: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Tick larvae are less than 1 millimeter long (the size of a poppy seed) while nymphs are 1-2 millimeters long, about the size of a pinhead. Adult ticks can range from about 2 - 6 millimeters long when unfed and can grow up to 10 millimeters long after feeding. Adult male ticks are often smaller than adult females.

tick size comparison showing sizes at different life stages in the life cycle


Shape

Ticks have a flattened oval or tear dropped shaped body before feeding and a plump, rounded body after feeding.

Immature ticks in the larvae stage have 6 legs. After feeding and maturing, they grow two additional legs for 8 legs total.

Ticks do not have wings or antennae.

a tick before feeding and a full tick after feeding


Color

Ticks range in color and marking depending on their species. See the chart below for examples of tick coloring.

the most problematic different types of ticks found in the United States


Range

Ticks can be found throughout the United States. While not every species of tick is in every state, there is at least 1 species of tick in each state.


Have you found a tick? Learn how to inspect for more with our guide to finding ticks in your home or yard and how to treat your home and yard for ticks with our how to get rid of ticks guide.

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