Tics transmit a number of diseases including Lyme disease, Q fever and Relapsing fever. Early symptoms of Lyme disease may include fever, headache, fatigue, depression and a characreristic circular skin rash. If left untreated later symptoms may involve the joints, heart and central nervous system.
Ticks are blood-feeding parasites that are often found in tall grass where they will wait to attach to a passing host. A tick will attach itself to it's host by inserting it's chelicerae (cutting mandibles) and hypostome (feeding tube) into the skin. The hypostome is covered with recurved teeth and serves as an anchor. Physical contact is not the only method of transportation for ticks. Some species stalk the host from ground level, emerging from cracks or crevices located in the woods or even inside a home. Weak or elderly dogs, puppies and cats can die from anemia caused by large numbers of ticks. Ticks can be hard to see but frequent grooming and chemicals for control may prevent the spread of ticks.
Changes in temperature and day length are some of the factors signalling a tick to seek a host. Ticks can detect heat emitted or carbon dioxide respired from a nearby host. They will generally drop off the host when full but this may take several days. In some cases ticks will live for some time on the same host. Ticks are more active outdoors in warm weather but can attack a host at any time. Ticks can be found in most wooded or forested regions throughout the world. They are especially common in areas where there are deer trails or human tracks. Ticks are especially abundant near water, where warm blooded animals come to drink, and in meadows wherever shrubs and brush provide a woody surface and cover.