Ticks are the largest and most conspicuous members of the order Acarina. Their most easily seen features are the spiracural plates which surround the external openings of the respiratory system. All ticks feed exclusively on the blood of vertebrates.
The lifecycle of ticks has four stages – eggs, larva, nymph and adult. Mating usually occurs while adult ticks are on the body of the host animal. The female then drops to the ground and deposits her eggs. Larva will hatch from the eggs in anywhere from 2 weeks to several months.
Most ticks spend their whole life on or near the ground, waiting for a suitable host animal.
– To make it more difficult for ticks to get on your body, if you walking in tick-infested area you should avoid sitting on the ground or on logs in brushy areas.
– Some non-chemical techniques which help reduce tick problems include keeping grass and weeds cut short in tick-infested areas.
– Removal of bird or rat nests in and around structures will reduce the number of ticks.
– Residual sprays of chlorpyrifos and propoxur are effective for tick control.
– Infested pet bedding should be carefully washed or disposed. The area around the pet bed should be thoroughly treated. All tick life stages can usually be found in cracks and crevices in the infested structures. All these areas must be carefully treated.
– Sealing of cracks and crevices where ticks can hide, both inside or on the exterior of homes, will aid in management of ticks. Regular examination and grooming of pets and frequent cleaning of their bedding, is also strongly recommended.