Ticks are anthropods, and not insects. They belong to the same class as spiders. Ticks are parasites and need a host to survive and consume blood during all stages of their life cycle. When ticks feed on blood, their body expands, making them appear bigger in size. They can and will feed on any blood source available to them, however the most common hosts are deer, livestock, humans, dogs and cats.

In Canada, the deer tick (or black-legged tick), American dog tick, brown dog tick and Rocky Mountain wood tick are the most common tick species. The deer tick is of highest concern because it can spread Lyme disease to humans.

Ticks range in size from a sesame seed to a small pea, and come in a variety of colours - reddish brown, brown, black, gray or white. Female deer ticks are 3-5 mm in length with reddish-brown colouring. Male deer ticks are smaller than female deer ticks and are brown in colouring.

The best way get rid of ticks is to prevent them:

  • Make sure to inspect yourself and family after being outdoors, paying special attention to these areas - behind ears and knees, in hair, under armpits, naval, groin and around the waist.
  • If you have pets, speak with your veterinarian about tick prevention options and inspect your pets for ticks every time they have been outdoors.
  • Keep your grass cut short at all times, especially around the edges of your property.
  • Keep trees shrubs and bushes trimmed.
  • Regularly dispose of organize materials and yard waste.
  • Hang bird feeders away from your house.
  • Store wood piles away from your home or areas of high activity.
  • If you have children’s play equipment in your yard, place it on foundations made of mulch or wood chips and keep it away from wooded areas or the edges of your property. 
  • Use fencing to keep your pets in your yard and wild animals (like deer) out.

If you are concerned about ticks, contact an expert tick control professional to help you get rid of ticks.