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 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.

adult and nymph deer ticks
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.

deer ticks and dog ticks
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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Tick Prevention and Management

Managing Ticks on School Grounds

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

Protecting Yourself from Ticks

Lyme and Other Tick-borne Disease Resources

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