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6 Types of Ticks in Tennessee (With Pictures)

Asian Longhorned Tick

If you live in Tennessee, you already know that there are many ticks and other insects and critters that you need to keep an eye out for when you’re outside. But just how many tick species live in Tennessee, what diseases do they carry, and when do you have to worry about them?

We answer all those questions and more for you here, as well as dive into a few things that you can do to keep them off you in the first place. Nobody wants to deal with ticks, but if you’re in Tennessee, they’re just a part of life and you should know about them.

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The 6 Types of Ticks in Tennessee

1. American Dog Tick (Wood Tick)

Wooden trestle tick
Image Credit: Catkin, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Dermacentor variabilis
Common Diseases: Tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Most Active During: Spring and summer

The American dog tick, more commonly referred to as the wood tick, is one of the most populous ticks throughout all of Tennessee. It’s more active in spring and summer, and it starts to calm down in fall and winter.

The American dog tick has white throughout its body, but there are also reddish-brown spots on the body and legs.

2. Asian Longhorned Tick

asian longhorned tick
Image Credit: MR.AUKID-PHUMSIRICHAT, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Haemaphysalis longicornis
Common Diseases: None
Most Active During: Spring to fall

While you can’t find the Asian long-horned tick throughout all of Tennessee just yet, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before it spreads from the eastern side of the state out west. It’s an invasive species that recently entered the state, and with a lack of natural predators, it is quickly spreading.

The good news is that while the Asian long-horned tick is spreading throughout the state, currently, its US population doesn’t spread any diseases to humans.

3. Black-Legged Tick (Deer Tick)

black legged tick on a leaf
Image Credit: Erik_Karits, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Ixodes scapularis
Common Diseases: Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Powassan virus
Most Active During: Year-round

The black-legged tick is one of the most common types of ticks throughout the eastern United States, and Tennessee is no exception. Many people refer to the black-legged tick as a deer tick because it tends to latch onto deer.

The black-legged tick is notorious for spreading Lyme disease, so if you find one on you, seek medical help to ensure that you don’t get the disease.

4. Brown Dog Tick

brown dog tick
Image Credit: NOPPHARAT539. Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Rhipicephalus sanguineus
Common Diseases: Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Most Active During: Spring to fall

The brown dog tick is a common tick that you can find in Tennessee. But while there’s a fair number of these ticks in Tennessee, they don’t usually chomp down on humans. Instead, they prefer to find spots on dogs to feed. So, if you have a dog, you should regularly check them for brown dog ticks.

However, these ticks can spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever to people. While they don’t often bite humans, if they do, you should take it seriously.

5. Gulf Coast Tick

gulf coast tick on a dog
Image Credit: Jen Helton, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Amblyomma maculatum
Common Diseases: Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Most Active During: Spring to fall

The Gulf Coast tick gets its name because it primarily lives along the Gulf Coast. But you can find it along a small portion of Tennessee, right around the Memphis area.

These ticks can spread Rocky Mountain fever if they bite humans. But much like the brown dog tick, they prefer to feed on other animals, including birds, rodents, and deer.

6. Lone Star Tick

Lone star tick
Image Credit: Jay Ondreicka, Shutterstock
Scientific Name:  Amblyomma americanum
Common Diseases: Ehrlichiosis, tularemia, heartland virus, STARI, and alpha-gel syndrome
Most Active During: Spring to fall

The lone star tick is one of the most recognizable ticks out there because of the single white spot on its back. It lives along the East Coast, including all of Tennessee.

The lone star tick is one of the most aggressive ticks out there, so if you see one, it’ll try to bite you. Even worse, they spread many diseases compared to most other ticks out there. Do your best to steer clear of these aggressive little ticks.

divider 4 Keeping Ticks Away

While you can treat tick bites, the best thing that you can do is to keep them off you in the first place. You need to take extra precautions in heavily wooded or marshy areas, where ticks thrive. First, treat your clothes with permethrin when going into such areas, and apply a bug spray to your skin.

Next, wear long pants, and tuck your pants into your shoes if you can, as this removes a way for the ticks to reach your skin. Wearing long sleeves is also beneficial, especially if you pair them with gloves.

You can treat the area around your home for ticks to keep them away from you, your family, and your pets.

What to Do If a Tick Bites You

Sometimes despite all your best efforts, a tick will bite you. So, it is best to know what to do ahead of time.

The first thing that you need to do is remove the tick. But don’t just pull it out. Get a pair of fine-tipped tweezers if you have them, and grab them as close to the skin as possible. Then, gently pull upward with steady, even pressure to remove the tick.

Once you have the tick off, clean the area with soap and water, and properly dispose of the tick. From there, the CDC recommends visiting a doctor if you develop either a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick.

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Now that you know more about common ticks in Tennessee, take the time to protect yourself, your family, and your pets from them. While they might be small, they can carry diseases that can create big problems.

Take ticks seriously, and know what to do if they do bite you and when you should seek further treatment to stay safe.

Featured Image Credit: JerzyGorecki, Pixabay


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