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Ticks are arachnids, like spiders and mites. They are mostly found in wooded areas and the open or grassy areas at the edges of wooded areas. Approximately 850 species have been described worldwide.

Ticks are vectors of many diseases, the most important of which, for Maine, is Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is transmitted to people by bites from deer ticks (also called black-legged ticks), not from dog ticks. When feeding, the tick makes a small incision in the skin of the host and inserts barbed piercing mouthparts to remove the blood. Most species cause little or no pain to their hosts at the time of feeding. Ticks transmit diseases by infecting hosts with microorgranisms carried on their mouthparts or in salivary fluids.


adult dog tick adult and nymph deer ticks deer ticks and dog ticks
Adult American dog ticks are chestnut brown with white spots or streaks on their backs. Unfed adults are about l/8-inch long. Engorged females become slate gray and may expand to a length of l/2-inch. Deer ticks: adults on right and nymph on left. Deer tick nymphs are very very tiny, approximately the size of a fleck of black pepper; adult females are about 1/10th of an inch when not engorged. Relative sizes of ticks: adult and nymphal deer ticks on the left and adult American dog ticks on the right. Each line on the ruler is 1/10 centimeter.

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Identification (each will open in a new window)


Tick Prevention and Management (each will open in a new window)


Managing Ticks on School Grounds

List of Licensed Companies Offering Tick & Mosquito Control—Maine Board of Pesticides Control


Protecting Yourself from Ticks (each will open in a new window)


Lyme and Other Tick-borne Disease Resources (each will open in a new window)



[Photos, left to right: Gary Alpert, Harvard University,; Jim Occi, BugPics,; Jim Occi, BugPics,]

It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.