Common Ticks of the Northeast and Tick-borne Diseases

If you love spending time outdoors in the Northeast, then you’re no stranger to ticks. These tiny arachnids may be small, but they pack a punch when it comes to transmitting diseases to humans and animals. Whether you’re hiking through a wooded trail or enjoying a picnic in a grassy area, ticks are lurking and waiting to make their move. In states like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, and beyond, ticks pose a serious threat to your health. From Lyme disease to anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and Powassan virus, the consequences of a tick bite can be severe. Keep reading to get wise on tick types, and learn some valuable ‘tips to stop the ticks’.

Ticks of the Northeast (Guide)

Ticks that Commonly Bite Humans

There are several types of ticks that commonly bite humans in the Northeast. These include:

Blacklegged Tick or Deer Tick

This tick is the most common carrier of Lyme disease in the Northeast. It is found in wooded areas and fields, and it is most active in the spring and fall.

American Dog Tick

This tick is found in grassy areas and can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, although these diseases are rare.

Lone Star Tick

This tick is found in wooded areas and fields, and it can transmit ehrlichiosis and tularemia. It is also associated with an allergy to red meat.

Relative Sizes of Ticks at Different Life Stages

Ticks go through several life stages, and each stage requires a different host or blood meal. The three stages of the tick life cycle are the larva, nymph, and adult. Here are the relative sizes of several ticks at different life stages:

  • Engorged female Ixodes scapularis tick (color may vary)
  • Adult male and female ticks
  • Nymph and larva ticks

Common Tick-Borne Diseases in the Northeast

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted by the blacklegged tick. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include a bullseye rash, headache, sore joints, and fatigue. Antibiotics are the most common treatment for Lyme disease.


Anaplasmosis is caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum, which is transmitted by the blacklegged tick. Symptoms of anaplasmosis can include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite. Antibiotics can be used to treat anaplasmosis.


Ehrlichiosis is caused by the bacteria Ehrlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii, or E. muris eauclairensis, which are transmitted by the lone star tick. Symptoms of ehrlichiosis can include fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, or rash. Antibiotics can be used to treat ehrlichiosis.


Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells. Symptoms of babesiosis can include fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue. Effective treatments are available for babesiosis.

Powassan Virus

Powassan virus is transmitted by the blacklegged tick and the groundhog tick. Symptoms of Powassan virus can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking, seizures, and memory problems. There is no medication for Powassan virus, and severe cases often require hospitalization.

Preventing Tick-Borne Diseases

When spending time outdoors in areas where ticks may be present, it’s important to take precautions to avoid tick bites. Follow these steps to keep tick-free:

  1. Wear long pants and long sleeves to cover as much skin as possible.
  2. Use insect repellent that contains at least 20% DEET on exposed skin and clothing.
  3. Check yourself, your children, and pets for ticks after spending time outdoors.
  4. Shower within 2 hours of coming indoors to wash away any unattached ticks.
  5. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill any ticks on clothing.

If you find a tick attached to your skin, it’s important to remove it as soon as possible using tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

If you experience symptoms of a tick-borne illness after being bitten, such as fever, rash, or joint pain, it’s important to seek medical attention promptly. Early treatment can prevent serious complications.

In summary, tick-borne illnesses are a serious concern in many areas, particularly in the Northeastern United States. Understanding the types of ticks that commonly bite humans and the diseases they can transmit can help you take measures to prevent tick bites and seek prompt treatment if necessary. By taking precautions and being aware of the risks, you can enjoy the outdoors while minimizing your risk of tick-borne illness.

Get Tick-Free with A1 Tick Control

Are you tired of sharing your yard with disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks? Take back your outdoor space and protect your family’s health with A1 Exterminators’ Mosquito and Tick Program. Our monthly treatment plan, using effective organic products, will significantly reduce the number of pests on your property. And with immediate results after the first treatment, you can enjoy a pest-free yard all season long. Don’t let mosquitoes and ticks ruin your outdoor fun – contact us today to schedule your first treatment!

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