Tick Awareness

Ticks are external parasites of pets, livestock, humans, and other wild creatures. They are characterized by the mostly flat oval body with eight legs and small size of quarter inch or less. The blood of animals and humans are what ticks feed on as part of their life cycle. Ticks host several diseases and can cause certain health conditions that are of concern for humans, pets, and livestock. There are three main tick species of concern found in Wisconsin, and 13 or more less common species.  Each has identifying characteristics that can be used to distinguish it from the other tick species present in Wisconsin. Of the three ticks of concern in Wisconsin, the wood tick is the largest. The Lonestar tick can be distinguished by the white spot present on its back. Deer ticks are generally less than an eighth of an inch long and lack markings on the body. The blacklegged or deer tick (Ixodes scapulari) is a tick of concern as it is the species that carries the bacteria that causes Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis. The wood or American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) is present in Wisconsin but are not associated with disease issues here (but has been associated with Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia in other parts of the US). Tick paralysis, a rare condition, has been associated with American dog ticks. The last main species of concern is the Lonestar tick (Amblyomma americanum) is rarely found in Wisconsin, is associated with ehrlichiosis and more rarely, creating an allergy to red meat. The Department of Entomology at UW-Madison introduced a new 2018 a tick identification service in 2018. They are offering the opportunity to identify the stage and species of ticks. Identifying the stage and species can be important when deciding if medical attention should be sought out. Identifications are based off of your location and the pictures you submit. By following this link ( you can learn more and find out how to submit the tick/s.