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Animal Ticks

Updated on November 4, 2014

Blue Tick Hound

I had to start this hub with a special picture of this blue tick hound. No we are not talking about blue tick hounds in this hub, I just wanted to start this hub with a special picture.
I had to start this hub with a special picture of this blue tick hound. No we are not talking about blue tick hounds in this hub, I just wanted to start this hub with a special picture.

Brown dog tick

Ticks

Many people in America suffer with the invasion of ticks, either on their animals or in their home. There are several species of ticks through out North America, but the most common here in Florida is the brown dog tic, the American dog tick, sometimes called “wood tick”. One nice thing is here in Florida we do not suffer with the deadly disease carrying deer tick. In all my years in the pest control industry I have come in contact with several different types of ticks, but fortunately have never come in contact with the deer tick. Tick’s mostly attack dogs, cats on the other hand very rarely get infested. Humans may get annoyed with the ticks, but one nice thing is that humans very rarely get bit by ticks and humans are not the preferred host for the ticks.

Ticks are parasitic and are not insects; they feed mainly on the blood of animals. Ticks are closely related to spiders and the adult ticks have eight legs. They multiply like mad and can cause major infestations in no time at all. We will be looking closely at the two major ticks that are prone to Florida in this hub.

The Brown Dog Tick

Here in Florida I get many calls at my service center for homes that are infested with ticks. Nine out of ten calls where ticks have infested the home do have animals in the home that run the fields and woods and this is where they pick up the ticks that come into the house. Almost all the time it is either the American or brown dog tick that we encounter, many people think they have wood ticks but most of the time it is either American or brown tick that they have.

The homes that have brown dog ticks usually have dogs that live in or around the home. The brown dog tick mostly attack dogs but leaves other animals and humans alone. Because of this the tick is not known to transmit diseases to humans but it may transmit diseases to other dogs that they come in contact with.

The brown dog tick can lay as many as 5000 eggs after they engorge themselves on the blood of the dog. The number of eggs depends on the size of the tick and the amount of blood she ingested. 7444841The eggs will be laid high up along the ceiling of a dog kennel, or in a home you may come across the eggs around door casings, windows or doors, edges of carpets and baseboards. It can take anywhere from nineteen to sixty days for the eggs to hatch, when they do the new hatched ticks are called seed ticks. Once the seed tick is of age and a host dog is available it will take a blood meal from the host dog.

The cycle of the brown dog tick goes like this; the tick requires three blood meals to make a complete development, once each for the larva, nymph and the adult. For each stage of the development the tick will need three host, it can be the same dog each time, but it will need a host and a blood meal for each part of the development phase. In-between each phase the tick will leave the host to develop and molt between the larval, nymphal, and the adult stages. The time in between each stage of development depends on temperatures, the warmer the temp the faster the development.

This is important to remember when dealing with ticks, larvae, nymph, and the adult ticks can live for long periods of time without a blood meal. It has been recorded an adult can live up to two hundred days with feeding.

American Dog Tick

The American Dog Tick

The American dog tick also known as the “dermacentor variabilis” is also very common here in Florida. This variety of tick is found on people and pets that frequent the outdoors. Dogs are the preferred host but will feed on other warm blooded animals.

The female tick can lay upwards to 6500 eggs and after she gets done laying her eggs she dies. The eggs will hatch between thirty six and sixty seven days and the unfed larvae will crawl around looking for a host to feed on, but can live up to 540 days without feeding. Nymphs can live up to 584 days without food and the adults can go two years without food. There are many places where ticks can find a host, but when a host passes by the tick will grasp the host and plant itself and start feeding. The male will stay on the host and feed and mate. The female will geed, mate become engorged and the drop off and lay their eggs and then die.

Depending on climatic conditions and the environmental conditions determine the cycle of the American dog tick. It can take anywhere from three months to three years for a tick to make a complete life cycle.

For all ticks when it comes to feeding the tick will make a small hole in the skin of the host, attach themselves with their mouthparts which has teeth that curve backwards, and then insert barbed piercing mouthparts to remove the blood from the host. When pulling ticks off of the host it may leave a runny wound which could become infected.

The two main ticks here in Florida can cause many problems to both humans and animals. The American dog tick may carry Rocky Mounted spotted fever, tularemia and other types of diseases from animals to humans. The American dog tick can also cause paralysis in dogs and children when the ticks attach themselves to the base of the skull or along the spinal column.

Tick Inspections

The most common way ticks get into the house is from your fury little friend the family pet. If your pet runs free in the yard or the woods near your home you are probably very likely to have a tick issue. Regularly check your animal with a fine tooth tick comb that you can get at any pet store. Run the comb through your pet’s fur paying special attention to the undersides of the body and tail, then check the head and behind the ears.

If you have children that like to play in parks or fields or roam out in the woods, do a quick inspections when they return home for any ticks that may be hitch hiking on them.

Hunters need to be careful not to bring ticks back home with them from the woods. Deer are known to commonly carry ticks, so when a hunter is field-dressing or butchering a deer there is increased likelihood that a tick will crawl on to the hunter. I remember one particular case of a hunter that brought home a deer to field dress in his back yard. The deer was full of ticks and when he was field dressing the deer the ticks got off the deer and infested his back yard. He called us to come and exterminate his home because the family dog became infested with the ticks and carried them into the home. That was the last time that this hunter brought home a deer to field dress in the back yard. Hunters should always wear protective clothing and perform a self-examination after the hunt and especially before they get back into the family vehicle after they come out of the woods.

When inspecting a home for tick activity always inspect baseboards, door casings, windows and window casings, edges of rugs, furniture, and curtains. When the tick is not feeding they will be hiding in these areas. Remember ticks can go a long time without eating so if you think you may have an issue with ticks always keep an eye on these areas around your home and keep a close eye on your children and family pets.

Treating for ticks

To control ticks, first the tick needs to be removed from the host very slowly and delicately. You do not want the tick to break off the host and leave any parts of the tick in the host; this can cause an infection to the area. It is best to use a tweezers and a magnifying glass and possibly a second set of hands when inspecting and removing ticks from your family pet. Pesticide application may be required for both the pet and the home. If a heavy infestation is found, it is best to treat the pet, home and the yard where the pet roams. A lot of times it can take several treatments to get the infestation under control, it is not an over night miracle to get rid of ticks. For a pet that is heavily infested it is best to have the animal treated by a professional veterinarian. At our place of business I will not take on an account if the customer does not have the pet treated by a professional. I will not take on an account either if the pet owner is trying to treat the pet themselves either. In my years of experience it is a waste of money to have the home and yard treated and the pet not treated professionally.

Blake Shelton - Ol' Red

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