Parasite insects that consume human and animal blood, tick species number around 800 worldwide. Australia is home to about 70 species with 16 of those thought to feed on humans.
Why are ticks considered a pest?
Ticks are considered a pest because they can spread serious disease. Most common to Eastern Australia, the Paralysis tick can infect humans with severe illness such as fever, rashes, flu-like symptoms and, in rare cases, shock and facial paralysis. Tick paralysis is most common in children bitten by ticks but can occur in adults. Other tick-borne illnesses include Queensland tick typhus and Flinders Island spotted fever.
Preventing tick bites is key to staying healthy
Prevention of tick bites is the best protection against tick-borne illness. Ticks are most active during humid weather and rainy seasons in the spring. If you are regularly outside when and where ticks are active, it would be best to take the following precautions:
What are some of the best ways to control ticks at my home?
As with most pest control, sanitation is king. Also, preventing ticks from entering the living area is a great proactive measure, so check for the presence of ticks whenever a child, adult or pet comes in from outside. Clean, use insecticide and visually inspect pet areas.
Removing ticks before they bite is much easier than trying to remove an engorged tick, however, a word of caution: do not use hot pins, matches or any kerosene product to remove ticks that have embedded. Always use fine-tipped forceps in order to ensure full removal.
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Ticks in Australia.
The Paralysis Tick Ixodes holocyclus species. The most common in Australia. Over 95% of tick bites are from this species. Also the majority of tick-borne illnesses are due to the Paralysis Tick.
The hard tick from family Ixodidae. It has a hard outer shell and feeds on multiple hosts throughout its life cycle. Similar to the dog tick, if unfed it is shaped like a flat seed.
The soft tick from family Argasidae. They exhibit a wrinkled leathery outer appearance. With only a few species they are often associated with nests and animal resting places.
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