Biology and Identification
For basic biology and habits of ticks, go to the Ticks
Information page. When your home, lawn or pets become infested with
ticks you should read the Tick
Elimination, Tick Control section. This page serves as a site map for
the different types of ticks (both Hard
Ticks and Soft
Ticks) and links to other issues such as products for pets, Lyme
Disease, indoor pest control and outdoor pest control as concerning tick
Tick Biology This
article will give you the basics on the bug.
Ticks As Disease Carriers
Diseases carried by ticks are a concern of public
health and individuals that can come into contact with ticks.
Tick Life Cycle Knowing
the life cycle or different stages of a tick during its development is knowledge
that is critical to tick control inside homes or other buildings. The
habits of the immature tick differs from those of its adult counterparts.
Tick Elimination There
are certain methods to use as well as specific types of pest control products
when facing tick problems indoors and outdoors.
Tick biology (description, life cycle, reproduction and habits) will help
you to understand ticks your are trying to eliminate.
Ticks have four stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, nymph and adult.
Mating usually occurs while adult ticks are on the body of the host animal. The female
drops to the ground and deposits her eggs. Adult female hard ticks feed only once and lay
large batch of eggs, often containing as many as 10,000 or more. Tick larvae will hatch
eggs in anywhere from two weeks to several months.
The first immature stage (larvae, which are many times called seed ticks)
have only six legs. These larvae must find and attach themselves to a host in order to get
blood meal. After obtaining this blood meal they usually drop to the ground, shed their
and emerge as 8-legged nymphs. Larvae of some ticks which feed only on one host remain on
host to molt. Because of the difficulty of finding a suitable host, tick larvae
can withstand long periods without feeding.
Nymphs resemble the adult tick in that they have eight legs. They do not,
however, have a genital opening. Like the larva, the nymph must be able to live without
feeding for long periods of time until it finds a suitable host. After finding a host and
nymph molts and becomes an adult tick. Hard ticks have only one nymphal instar while soft
ticks may have several.
Adult ticks may require several days of feeding before they are able to
reproduce. Male hard ticks usually die soon after mating, and females die soon after
eggs. Adult soft ticks are generally longer-lived, and egg-laying is a periodic activity
Most ticks spend the bulk of their life on or near the ground, waiting for a
suitable host animal. Since they cannot run, hop, fly or move quickly, ticks must climb
appropriate object such as tall grass or weeds or up onto fences and siding of buildings.
It is from these advantageous positions that they wait for a suitable host to pass by.
When they detect
vibrations and chemical cues such as host odors or exhaled carbon dioxide, ticks will fall
their perch or stretch out (holding on to their perch with only 2 or 4 of their rear legs)
and hope to snag or attach onto a passing host (e.g., a mammal with a fur coat or pants
and socks worn by
Ticks are also capable of detecting shadows cast by a passing host. These
behaviors are important in applying pesticide dusts or sprays labeled for
eliminating ticks and other arachnids. Carefully inspect and treat for ticks
using these aspects of tick behavior, You must understand this aspect of
tick behavior and carefully inspect and treat all these crack and crevices
with a good insecticide dust to eliminate ticks and to prevent ticks.