Name (no common name)
Latin Name Ixodes angustus
How do you get rid of Ixodes angustus?
Ixodes angustus is unlikely to infest your home as it prefers to live outdoors. However, thorough checks of clothing, the nape of the neck and scalp, armpits and, groin and knees, pets and objects should be undertaken when returning from risk areas.
How to identify Ixodes angustus
Ixodes angustus eggs are minuscule. Larvae are usually less than 1 mm. Nymphs are poppy seed sized, usually 1-2 mm long with eight legs, similar-looking although smaller than adult males and nearly translucent. Adult males and females have a similar tan colouration; females are significantly larger with a darker scutum, and tan body and the smaller males are tan-brown. After feeding, tick bodies become engorged with blood meal and their colour will shift. An unfed female tick is typically 3-5 mm in length and will expand to upwards of 10 mm when engorged with blood meal.
An adult female will feed for about a week before dropping off its host, engorged, to lay upwards of 5000 eggs over the course of a two week period, at the end of which, it dies. After hatching, the larvae have six legs and will immediately begin searching for host bodies for their first blood meal. It is during this first feeding that diseases are usually contracted, namely Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease). After their first moulting, nymphs will have eight legs and be capable of spreading disease. Ixodes angustus typically completes its entire lifecycle in the nest of its host, usually a rodent species.
Signs of an Ixodes angustus Infestation
Ixodes angustus is unlikely to infest your home as it prefers to live outdoors, rarely leaving the nest of its host, and present a low-risk of even accidental invasion.Those who frequent tick-infested areas should familiarize themselves with not only tick bites but also symptoms of the diseases that they transmit.
Where did they come from / how did I get them?
It is typically associated with cool, moist habitats including forests and along the edges of rivers. Luckily, it is rarely found outside the nest of its host, making contact with humans and pets unlikely. Active in temperatures above 4 degrees Celsius, once mounted onto its host, a Western Black-Legged Tick will move around the body and select a preferred feeding site typically a warm and moist area around the neck, head, armpits, groin and knees.
What does Ixodes angustus eat?
They rarely feed on humans and domestic animals. Ixodes angustus prefers to feed on mice, voles, shrews and rats.
How Serious is Ixodes angustus?
The little-known Ixodes angustus is a potential vector of Lyme Disease and Powassan Virus and is widely distributed across Canada.
Lyme Disease: Early symptoms include headache, fever, muscle and joint pain, stiffness and fatigue in addition to the development of a bullseye-shaped rash near the bite (occurs in 70-80% of people who contract Lyme). Treated and untreated Lyme Disease symptoms may spread to other parts of the body and result in heart, muscle, joint and nervous system abnormalities that may be life-threatening. A doctor should always be consulted for diagnosis and treatment. You too should become familiar with the symptoms of Lyme disease. More information on Lyme Disease can be found here.
Powassan Virus: Signs and symptoms of the little-known Powassan Virus include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, seizures, confusion, memory loss and other long-term neurological problems. There is no specific treatment and hospitalization is usually required to support respiration, receive intravenous fluids and reduce swelling of the brain. Approximately half of survivors have chronic neurological problems, and it is fatal in 10% of victims. Although only 25 cases have been identified in Canada (75 in the United States), the recent expansion of tick populations in North America makes this tick-borne illness cause for concern.
Although it typically takes ticks upwards of 24 hours to successfully transmit Lyme Disease, Black-Legged Ticks are capable of transmitting Powassan Virus in 15 minutes. If you find a tick on a person or pet:
Grasp the tick behind the head using tweezers and slowly remove it from the host (fingers can be carefully used if an appropriate tool is not on hand, wash hands thoroughly before and after tick removal). Do not crush the tick; crushing may lead to the release of dangerous fluids. Ensure that the mouthparts of the tick are fully removed and thoroughly wash the infected area. Seek medical attention. Save the tick body for testing and diagnosis.
How Addison can help Prevent Ixodes angustus Infestations in the Future
When entering a suspected tick populated, or heavily-wooded area, or river trail:
Wear light clothing, long sleeves and long pants tucked into socks. Repellents: Deet-based skin repellent helps repel them, and Permethrin clothing treatment can kill ticks. Contact your veterinarian about available preventative treatments for ticks and other ectoparasites.
Ticks and other ectoparasites can enter the home on just about anything, on clothing, pets, people, and plants. In general, when returning from any densely vegetated, wooded or infested area where tick harbourages and activity are suspected, it is crucial to perform thorough checks of all incoming living and non-living objects. Ticks are drawn to moist and warm areas on their host bodies; be sure to check the scalp, nape, behind the ears, armpits, groin, navel and knees. Always check twice. Immediately wash and dry all clothing on high heat and be sure to shower as soon as possible. Bathe and groom your pets and regularly check for ticks and other parasites.
Certain preventative measures can be taken as part of a system of physical controls:
Keep your home clean, check under furniture and the areas that pets frequent. Repair crevices and gaps around the structure, paying particular attention to possible entry points from outdoors. Keep your grass cut and maintain an organic free barrier of at least 1m around the exterior walls of the structure using gravel or woodchips. Dispose of all animal nesting material, and evict other pest populations in and around your property as ticks parasitize most rodent and avian pest species. Keep your lawn free of debris and leaf litter, keep children’s playsets clear of wooded areas.