Close up of an american dog tick - tick control services with Kona Coast Pest Control in Kailua Kona

American Dog Tick

Actual Size: 3.6 mm to 5 mm

Characteristics: Oval; brown to reddish-brown with white-gray markings.

Legs: 8

Antennae: No

Habitat: Found in shrubs and tall grass or along trails


  • Also known as  “Wood Ticks.”
  • Most active during the spring and summer.
  • Can transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia.

Featured Image

American Dog Ticks in Kailua Kona

The American dog tick can be found east of the Rocky Mountains and in western states such as California, Washington, and Idaho. While, as its name implies, it is generally found on dogs, the American dog tick can also attack other animals, including mice, deer, cattle, horses, and even humans. These ticks are known to spread Rock Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, and other diseases to humans and animals. They can survive for up to 2 years without feeding on a host.

American Dog Tick Habitat

American dog ticks prefer to live in areas with little or no tree cover, opting for grassy fields and scrublands, as well as along walkways and trails. Rodents are often hosts for immature ticks and the ticks can be found in areas where rodents hide, like overgrown shrubs, weeds, tall grass, and clutter. Adult ticks will climb onto grass blades or brush, holding on with their hind legs. As a host passes, the tick waves its front legs and grabs onto the passing human or animal.

American Dog Tick Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

American dog ticks are most active during the spring and summer when the chance of being bitten increases. The adult females are most likely to bite humans. Both nymph and adult ticks can carry and transmit diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tulemremia. To avoid being bitten, wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants tucked into socks when outdoors. Lighter color clothing makes it easier to detect ticks. Using an EPA-registered tick repellant containing DEET also helps repel ticks.

If you are dealing with a tick problem, contact your local tick control experts for assistance.