Understanding the Life Cycle of Ticks for Better Tick Control
Insights from Your Professional Deer Fencing Installation Company
As you ease into the warm, summer months, your outdoor plans will be at an all-time high. However, if there is one thing that you may be constantly wary of, it is the bugs and insects that may be lurking around in your yard. While mosquitoes may appear to be your peak problem, the tiny bloodsucking ticks could be a bigger health hazard than you imagine. Know more about these black legged parasites, their life cycle and how they feed and breed, so that you can take the right precautions to protect yourself and your family from nasty bites and tick borne diseases.
Life Stages of Ticks
With more than 850 species, these blood sucking arachnids are broadly classified by their body structure into hard ticks and soft ticks. Most often, it is the hard ticks that cause diseases amongst humans and pets. The life cycle of a tick involves four stages, from egg to larva to nymph to adult and most of the hard tick species need three different hosts to mature into each of their life stages.
- Eggs to Larvae: Adult female hard ticks breed when they are clinging to the host and then drop to the ground to lay several thousand eggs at a time. These eventually hatch into larvae, also known as seed ticks. They are slightly smaller in size than the adult tick and have 6 legs at this point. Since ticks cannot jump or fly, they have to find a way to attach themselves to a host by crawling up blades of grass, leaf piles or other vegetation or woody areas where a potential host is likely to be available. At the larval stage, they try to find smaller hosts such as rodents, lizards or small mammals to cling to. After getting a feed of their initial blood meal, they drop back to the ground to digest their food and begin to grow. One to three weeks later, the larvae molt to become nymphs.
- Nymphs to Adults: Nymphs have eight legs and look just a tad smaller than the adult tick. The nymphs now search for a new, slightly larger host such as possums or raccoons. Once they have fed on their blood for several days, they engorge and drop to the ground to continue their development until they molt into adult ticks.
- The Adult Ticks: The full grown eight-legged adult ticks then go hunting for their third host for the purpose of reproduction. This time they attach themselves to larger hosts such as deer, pet dogs or human beings and feed for about 24 hours before mating. Both the female and male ticks feed before mating, but the male is much smaller in size as compared to the engorged female. Often, the male dies immediately after mating, while the female tick lays between 2,000 to 18,000 eggs and then dies. The eggs then go through the same life stages of becoming larvae, nymphs and adults.
Tick Control through Deer Fencing
To protect yourself from ticks, you must take necessary precautions such as covering yourself well while trekking through woody areas, and checking and washing up properly after being in tick-prone outdoor spaces. However, to protect your property from turning into a breeding ground for ticks, you may need to take several other measures. In addition to mowing your lawn, keeping your yard clean and regularly clearing up dried leaf piles, consider fencing solutions to prevent tick-borne deer from entering your property. Since deer are the favored mating time hosts for ticks, keeping them away from your property will lower your chances of contracting any tick-borne diseases and prevent tick infestations closer to your home.
Consult a professional company such as Deerfencers that specializes in fencing solutions as well as tick control to find the right solutions for your home. Call us at (800)753-4600 today or contact us using our online form.