The 3 most common types of ticks in the United States are:
Blacklegged Tick (Ixodes scapularis)
Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma Americanum)
American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis)
All tick bites can cause different types of reactions, ranging from no symptoms to a wide variety of illnesses. The ticks listed below are the main carriers of various diseases.
To get an idea of the size difference between the types, please refer to the chart.
Graph Courtesy of CDC
The Blacklegged Tick is also known as the deer tick. It is this group of ticks that carry Lyme Disease.
They live in the Central, Northeast, and Eastern part of the United States. There are also “western” black-legged ticks that live west of the Rocky mountains.
They have a life cycle that lasts about 2 years, and their favorite food supply is deer and rodents, although they will bite and feed off of dogs, people, and other types of mammals, that they can latch on to.
They are quite a bit smaller than the more common American Dog Tick types.
They are about an 1/8 of an inch long at maturity and are found in humid, wooded, and brushy areas.
They are active throughout spring, summer and fall.
The Lone Star Tick does not carry Lyme Disease, but can be a carrier of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
These types are mainly found in the southeast and south-central part of the United States, and their range also extends to Maine, New York, Texas, and Oklahoma.
They are slightly bigger in size than the blacklegged tick, and the females have a white spot on their backs.
They also live in brushy, wooded areas, and are the most active from April through July.
The American Dog Tick is the most common tick, and they are sometimes called wood ticks.
These types of ticks do not carry Lyme Disease, but they are the main carrier of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
They are the largest in size, and they prefer to feed off of medium to large sized mammals, including people.
During feeding, they can swell to the size of a small grape.
They also live in humid, wooded, brushy areas, and are most active in April through June.