You know what bites? Not being able to spend time in your own backyard due to annoying and dangerous ticks.

While your landscape may look innocent enough, it can be a haven for ticks if the conditions are right. While ticks alone are pretty creepy, it’s the illnesses they potentially carry that can really ruin your day.

It’s certainly not a pleasing thought to think that tick-borne illnesses are rising in the U.S. Unfortunately, that includes North Virginia.

In fact, according to the Virginia Department of Health, the northern counties of Virginia report the highest density of ticks. While lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in Virginia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis are also transported through ticks. Loudoun County specifically has taken steps to share information, helping educate people about ticks and preventing lyme disease to try and reduce its spread.

Let’s dive deeper into some facts about ticks in Northern Virginia and how you can keep them out of your yard.

Facts About Ticks in Northern Virginia

You might be concerned about ticks on your property near Purcellville, Waterford, or Round Hill, VA, and we don’t blame you. They are small pests, but what they carry can be deadly.

So naturally you want to get them out of your yard ... and fast.

But first let’s talk about some tick facts so you can gain a better understanding of how they operate. Knowledge is power when trying to avoid pests like these. Knowing where they hang out and how they move can better inform your decisions when you’re trying to navigate your landscape and emerge tick-free.

Northern Virginia Ticks

The four most common ticks in Northern Virginia that you might run into are the lone star tick, the American dog tick, the brown tick, and the deer tick, which is also known as the blacklegged tick.


The blacklegged tick is the one you need to worry about the most when it comes to lyme disease. Lone star ticks and dog ticks can spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis.

Ticks feed on the blood of humans and animals. They experience 4 life stages from egg to 6-legged larva to 8-legged nymph to adult. But to reach each stage after egg hatch, they must ingest blood. A tick can take up to 3 years to go through all 4 stages, and many will die because they can’t find hosts to feed on.

What Do Ticks Look Like?

When it comes to ticks in Northern Virginia, you want to know what you’re looking for. The lone star tick is only about 5 millimeters in length, and is light reddish-brown in color with a central white spot on its back. You can distinguish the lone star tick from the brown tick, which is also 5 millimeters long, because it is dark reddish-brown without white markings.

The American dog tick is 5 millimeters long and is dark brown with light wavy lines on its back. Finally, the deer tick is only 2 to 3 millimeters long and is off-white or reddish when it's full with black legs.

How Ticks Behave

Ticks don’t jump, and they can’t fly.

So how do they find their hosts? Hard-shelled ticks do something called questing. This is where they crawl up onto tall weeds, grass, or other vegetation and wait for hosts to pass by.

They hang on using their third and fourth pairs of legs and reach their first pair out front in order to catch a host that walks by.

While soft-shelled ticks can also quest, they are also nesting parasites. This means they live in sheltered areas like caves, borrows, and nests, and they crawl around, feeding on the hosts that live in those areas mostly at night. If your dog or cat has a favorite outside hangout, ticks can hang out in there as well, which is why you want to prevent ticks in your yard.

Where Ticks Live

Many people think ticks only hang out in forests, but they can actually be found in many types of places. Yes, your backyard is one of them, which is why tick control in Northern Virginia is so important.

pest control technician sprays plants for ticks

You can find ticks in tall brush or grasses, wooded areas, where woods and fields intersect, under leaves or plants, around groundcovers and shrubs, and even near stones or wood piles where small animals like mice and rodents live.

What Ticks Are Not

Any list of facts about ticks in Northern Virginia should come with a list of some common tick misconceptions.

Why? There’s a lot of information out there that people believe about ticks that is simply untrue. Let’s review those so you can focus your worries on real data when dealing with this pest.

Misconception #1: Ticks Fall From Trees

Ticks don’t jump on you, and they don’t fall from up high like from tall trees or their branches.

Sure, ticks in Northern Virginia can climb. But these little bugs normally don’t climb higher than tall grasses or shrubs, which is where they like to hang out so they can latch onto hosts that pass by.

Misconception #2: Tick Bites Hurt

Ticks are a lot more sneaky than you think, and they are very small.

So if you get a tick, you’ll likely not even feel it or find it until you actually see it in your skin.

That’s why when you, your family, and your pets go outdoors into areas that are common tick habitats, checking your clothing, hair, and body thoroughly for ticks when you come back indoors is important. Preventing ticks in your yard is another way to keep bites down.

Misconception #3: Smother Ticks To Remove Them

The best way to remove a tick, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is to use tweezers to grab hold of the tick as close to the skin as possible. You want to remove the head along with the body, easing the entire pest out of your skin. Go slow. Don’t be too aggressive so you don’t separate the body from the head, leaving the head in your skin.

Misconception #4: All People With Lyme Disease Get Rashes

Yes, the bull’s eye rash – a rash with a red ring around it – is the most common sign of lyme disease caused by ticks in Northern Virginia.

That doesn't mean everyone with lyme disease will get this rash. If you’re experiencing any symptoms after a tick bite – whether a rash is included or not – see your health care professional immediately.

Lyme Disease & Northern Virginia

Even in the past few years, lyme disease cases from ticks in Northern Virginia have nearly doubled. In fact, almost 200 cases of the disease are now reported in the county each year, according to Fairfax County’s Disease Carrying Insect Program.

Your chance of catching lyme disease from a single tick ranges from roughly 0% to 50%. The chance of contracting lyme disease from a tick depends on 3 major things: the tick species, where the tick came from, and how long it was biting you.

Know Disease Symptoms

The most troublesome part about ticks in Northern Virginia is the diseases they can carry, and for good reason. Ticks can transmit more diseases than any other blood-sucking pest.

If you find a tick, don’t be alarmed. After removing it properly, you’ll want to look for certain symptoms that indicate a potential disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A fever or chills is a big sign of tick-borne illness, that can happen from the time of onset on, spiking at various moments. Along with that, you might feel some aches and pains, such as headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Joint pain also comes along with lyme disease. And, finally, another sign of tick bite problems is rashes, including one that looks like a bull’s eye with a red outer rim.

Tick-borne illnesses can show up with treatable, mild symptoms or severe infections that require hospital stays. While they are easily treatable with antibiotics, the diseases ticks spread can be challenging for doctors to diagnose.

As with any disease, early recognition and treatment can decrease serious complication risks. If you’ve experienced a tick bite and are feeling any of the above symptoms, a quick visit to your doctor is in order.

How to Control Ticks in Your Northern Virginia Yard

You can see that ticks are certainly a danger to you, your family members, visitors to your yard, and your pets that go outdoors.

As such, you’ll want to get rid of ticks in your yard.

pest control technician sprays for ticks

If you’re concerned about pesticides being used in your landscape, we have some good news when it comes to ticks. There is a natural, professional-grade product that actually works on ticks. The primary ingredient, in fact, is cedar oil. Cedar oil blocks ticks’ scent receptors and disrupts their bodies’ systems. This product also dries up ticks.

A bonus: The same product can help fight mosquitoes in your yard as well – annoying pests that also are a nuisance and can carry disease.

Use This Guide to Keep Mosquitoes, Fleas, & Ticks Out of Your Backyard

Get Professional Help to Fight Ticks Near Purcellville, Waterford, and Round Hill, VA

You may read all of these facts and have a better understanding of ticks. But if you suspect them in your yard, you may not know where to start when it comes time for safe and effective tick control in Northern Virginia.

We understand. The whole process can be daunting. And you would hate to spend the time and energy on a DIY method or hiring someone you don’t trust to battle ticks in your yard and find out that you wasted money and time and still have pest issues.

Never fear. Turf’s Up is here. We’d be happy to help you solve the tick problems in your yard. Then you can relax and spend time outdoors with your family and pets knowing your tick worries are behind you.

Ready to learn why Turf’s Up could be your totally awesome choice for tick control in Northern Virginia? We’re stoked to learn more about you and help you eliminate your ticks once and for all. Get started today with a free quote. Together, we can prepare a customized plan that is perfect for you and your yard.lawn care service comparison

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