Learning Center
Lone Star Ticks
Lone Star Ticks

Learn More About Lone Star Ticks

Lone star ticks are found throughout the southeastern and south-central states, including North Carolina and South Carolina. They will feed readily on humans, and other animals, including dogs and cats. Although they can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, lone star ticks are not as likely to transmit the disease as American dog ticks. Avoid the risk by contacting our pest control experts.

Pest Identification


1/4 in.


Solid brown; females possess a white star-like dot in the middle of their backs.

Body Structure

Flat body with eight legs.


Like other ticks, the lone star tick is parasitic and requires blood of a host animal to reproduce. Female adults will gorge themselves with a host’s blood before dropping to the ground and depositing clusters of thousands of eggs. Males, who may mate with several females, die after mating. Likewise, females die after they have laid their eggs. When eggs hatch they release larva, which often are referred to as “seed ticks.” Seed ticks, which feature just 6 legs at this point, immediately seek a host upon which to feed. After feeding on the host, the seed tick will fall to the ground, molt and emerge as a nymph with 8 legs. The nymph repeats this process, and finally emerges as an adult. The entire life cycle may take up to 3 years to complete.

Habitat & Behavior

Lone star ticks live in wooded environments and can be found anywhere animals feed or rest. In general, young lone star ticks feed on small mammals, birds, and rodents, whereas nymphs and adults will feed on cattle, horses or deer. Larva, nymphs, and adults all will feed on human blood. When feeding, the lone star tick attaches its barbed mouthparts to the host and injects an anticoagulant to allow blood to flow. Like other ticks, they are vector pests and can transmit pathogens to a host, including bacteria that cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Often, the bite of a lone star tick is will go undetected.

Commonly Active

Spring / Summer / Fall

Prevention & Treatment

If spending time in wooded areas around your home, spray your clothing and shoes with a DEET-containing pest repellent. If you find a lone star tick on your body, remove it using tweezers, plucking it from your body as close to the tick’s mouthparts as possible. Do not crush or squeeze the tick’s body, otherwise whatever pathogens it is harboring may be injected into the wound. If you experience nausea, vomiting, disorientation, profuse sweating, rash or onset of paralysis, seek medical attention immediately. If you are concerned about lone star ticks around your home, please consult a pest control professional. Find out more about tick control and elimination.

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