Ticks are sometimes associated with mites and are a common domestic pest. These creatures can often produce painful bites to humans as well as domesticated cats and dogs. Unfortunately the bite of a tick may also harbor many complex diseases which are sometimes life-threatening. Ticks carry many well-known diseases such as Lyme Disease or tick fever, both of which can lead to paralysis and other complicated medical conditions.
Adult Female Dog Tick
Those who spend time in the great outdoors may also be well-versed in the ways of these tiny creatures. Ticks will wait in long grasses or bushes for a host to pass by closely enough for this pest to reach and latch onto. They belong to the same family as spiders and are a class beneath arachnids but share many of the same defining characteristics.
This adaptable creature can be found living in most countries and climates but prefer warm, humid grasslands. Places which commonly have a high population of ticks include hardwood trees, wet lands and other dense areas of forest and vegetation. Household pets and humans are highly desirable hosts for ticks.
Domestic animals, small birds, mammals and humans are all common food sources. Ticks will spend most of their time living on these hosts, feeding and engaging in reproduction before eventually dying or moving on to a new host. A typical adult will usually feed from three hosts in its lifetime and will spend short lengths of time in grassy woodlands before waiting for its next host.
Life Cycle of Ticks
Ticks have three main life phases; these are called the larval, nymphal and adult phases. The usual lifespan is no longer than a year, and each phase is shorter than the last. As they enter each stage, they require an increase in food. Ticks feed on blood and require blood meals to survive.
One female may lay up to 3,000 eggs during her lifetime. She will sometimes lay her eggs into the ground for protection, but more frequently the fertilized eggs are usually carried by the host during the length of pregnancy. When the larvae are born, they typically feed on small animals or birds for their blood and require small, frequent meals. As they reach maturity, they are more likely to seek out larger food sources, including humans, and feed more consistently and in higher volumes.
Nympthals go through further phases. These additional phases are known as instars, and frequent molting is typical of most ticks within this phase. Molting is the process of shedding skin to allow for rapid growth into adulthood, and a tick may shed up to ten times before fully mature. A nymphal may have up to seven instar phases before it reaches maturity and each instar requires a blood meal.
Ticks and Humans
Anyone who has ever been camping or who owns a cat or dog may know all too well of the perils associated with coming in contact with a tick. This might have been from common warnings, cautionary tales, or first-hand experience of a tick bite.
Ticks commonly live in areas of wet, dense foliage and high humidity. These areas are usually ideal for hunting, hiking or camping. As such, many hunters are bitten by ticks. Ticks are a particularly unpleasant pest that feed on humans and domestic pets as well as small mammals and birds. They are commonly found on deer as well. Ticks are parasitic and commonly transfer diseases to their hosts, which can lead to death if left untreated.
Ticks are also able to transfer chemicals into animal and human bodies. In some cases, victims may show an allergy to red meats as a sign of infection. Ticks may feed on a human for the duration of their life, and as such, may cause ongoing health problems for the host. The usual course of treatment is to remove the tick, and occasionally additional antibiotics may be required. A bite may cause anaphylaxis anywhere up to six months from contamination and the strength and severity of the symptoms will increase if untreated.
Ticks are truly a horrifying pest. Lyme disease is a bacteria infection that ticks can give. The first symptoms will be similar to the flue. Stage two will cause paralysis of the face, sever muscle pain, and heart problems. Stage three can cause nerve damage, problem talking, a sever low immune system which can lead to death. Its important you know how to prevent ticks from ever biting in the first place. Please read out Tick Control page.
Tick Scientific Name: Ixodes
Part of the Animalia kingdom, ticks are classed in the Arthropda phylum. Interestingly, they also belong to the Arachnida class (sub-class Acari). Most ticks are soft bodied, but Ixodidae and Argsidea geneses have hard shelled bodies.
Ticks thrive in all parts of the world but have high population numbers in Africa, America, Europe and Asia. They usually feed on birds and smalls mammals but adults may also feed on humans and domestic animals. They are parasitic and a common pest. Preventative treatment should always be considered.