The brown dog tick is part of a group classified as arthropods, which are invertebrates with an external skeleton, segmented body, and joint appendages.
This type of tick is found throughout the United States and primarily feeds on dogs while the deer one, also known as the black-legged tick, is usually found along trails and feeds on both humans and animals. In animals, they cause anemia, paralysis, and transmit other diseases.
Ticks don’t like to crawl far, jump or fly, they’re like hobos. They are transported from one area to another by hitching a ride on passing pets or people.
Tick infestations start when they are brought into a yard or home by rats, mice, squirrels, opossums or raccoons. Sometimes the infestation source is the farm or the pet hotel. You can even pick them up while walking the dog in your neighborhood.
It only takes one tick to start an infestation as each female can lay 2000 to 3000 thousand eggs at a time.
An infestation can seem to appear overnight but in reality, it probably has been building for weeks. When the tick eggs hatch the nymphs are about the size of a pencil dot. They may look like dirt and even when they are fully grown they are hard to see.
When a tick feeds it uses cutting teeth to break the skin and then it inserts a suction tube into the wound. Once the skin is pierced the tick spits it’s saliva into the wound which contains a numbing agent and an anticoagulant.
The numbing agent masks the bite and the anticoagulant thins the blood to makes it easier for the tick to drink. The diseases they transmit to us are carried in the saliva.
They have the ability to transmit infections such as Lyme disease. Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease that affects humans and animals and causes rashes, anemia, swelling, fever, headaches, and fatigue.
Typically, ticks are found in grassy areas or shrubs where they attach to the skin of a host, usually either humans or animals and feed off the blood for nourishment. At times, they may appear inside homes by crawling through cracks and crevices.
If bitten by a tick, it is important to clean the area and apply antibiotic cream to reduce symptoms. If severe reactions occur, consult a doctor for further treatment options.
The transmission of infection to the host is the result of the transfer of toxins from the tick’s saliva into the host. Ticks can multiply in number quickly and an infestation can occur with few visible signs, which makes it increasingly difficult to get rid of ticks.
Tick control is important for preventing an infestation in the home. The best way to prevent ticks from attaching to the skin and entering the house is to wear long sleeves while walking along with wooded or grassy areas and applying insect repellent.
Caulking any cracks around the house, installing screens outside windows, mowing the lawn frequently, cleaning cluttered areas around the home, and getting rid of excess wood are all helpful methods for tick control.
Learning how to kill ticks is also important. Do-it-yourself methods are effective in removing and killing ticks. Tweezers or forceps are useful tools to pull ticks away from the skin. Once the tick is removed, rinse it down the sink or flush it down the toilet.
Outside the home, chemical treatments are effective in getting rid of ticks. When getting rid of ticks becomes difficult or infestation occurs, contact a professional exterminator to apply professional treatment and eliminate ticks completely.