There are seven major types of ticks in the U.S. Each species shares similar traits. In Michigan, you are likely to see the Deer Tick and the Brown Dog Tick more than any other. Both can carry pathogens, but of the two of them the Deer Tick is the more dangerous to humans as its a known vector for Lyme Disease. Additionally, as ticks can carry multiple diseases at once, it is possible for a human host to be infected by more than one pathogen from a single bite.
Deer ticks are perhaps the most dangerous, due to their ability to carry and transfer Lyme Disease, babesiosis, and human granulocytic ehrlichiosis. Because all three of these illnesses can be carried inside a tick at the same time, there holds the very real possibility of getting infected with all three pathogens at once.
Furthermore, because their habitat ranges from long grass to wood piles to the backs of your pets, the likelihood that you’ll be exposed to them if you live adjacent to a known infestation area is incredibly high. Which is why you should always check yourself and your pets for ticks during the spring and summer months when visiting areas known to be tick habitats.
Brown Dog Ticks
As their name implies, Brown Dog Ticks prefer dogs. They will commonly attach themselves to the ears of dogs, but are sometimes found on the backs, tails, or between the toes. They don’t require anything outdoors to complete their life cycle, making them especially threatening to households with multiple dogs or pets.
Aside from their obvious attachment to your pet, you can fairly quickly identify a Brown Dog Tick by its flattened oval shape when un-engorged (about 1/8″), or its fully extended shape when fully engorged (up to 1/2″).