Serving the North and South Shore of Massachusetts 978-683-4333
Size: About 1/4-inch in length.
Color: Varies depending on species from sandy brown, reddish brown to dark brown.
Typical Soft Tick Behavior
Soft ticks differ from the hard ticks in that their body shape is oval and the head and mouthparts are hidden underneath the body. Soft ticks also are more flesh-like in appearance and do not have the hard, flattened exterior of ticks such as the brown dog tick, American dog tick, and similar species. The most commonly encountered soft ticks around buildings are those that infest birds belonging to the genus Argas and those infesting rodents of the genus Ornithodoros.
Rodents transmit the spirochete that causes relapsing fever in the western U.S. Cabins, rural homes and other secluded buildings that become infested with rodents may potentially house Ornithodoros soft ticks. Should the rodents leave or tick populations become too high, the ticks may attach themselves to persons residing or sleeping in infested buildings. Bird or fowl ticks of the genus Argas may be encountered on farms where poultry are kept or in buildings infested by pigeons that carry the pigeon tick, A. reflexus.
These ticks are quite mobile and may crawl significant distances seeking hosts, such as invading a structure on a farm or moving down through a building from pigeon roosts.
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