Ticks are a pest that Integrated Pest Management is the best method when approaching how to handle them. If you are not familiar with IPM, then you can go back and read the previous post about what it is and how it works.
Ticks are closely related to spiders (ticks are part of the arachnid family, same as mites and scorpions). They are typically 1-5 mm when unfed, but after they have fed on blood they can swell up to 13mm. Adult ticks have a two-segmented body, no antennae and they have 8 legs (they only have 6 legs when they are in their larvae stage). Ticks have to feed on blood during all active stages of their development.
Humans and animals are most likely to come in contact with a tick when walking through tall grass or near bushes, because ticks will generally position themselves on tall grass and in bushes. Ticks are unable to fly and they move slowly.
The majority of tick bites are painless and most will not result in illness or disease. Ticks are obligate parasites, which means that they must feed on blood in order to survive and reproduce
hard ticks will feed on two or three hosts during their development cycle because each stage requires blood in order for them to reach the next stage. Mated females will lay thousands of eggs on the ground and then die. Adult males die shortly after finishing the reproduction cycle.
The eggs hatch into larvae or “seed ticks” and they will attach themselves to a host and feed for anywhere from 2-9 days before they leave the host, digest the blood and moult into the nymphal stage.
In the nymphal stage, they will once again attach themselves to a host and feed. Once they are done feeding, they will once again digest the blood and then moult, this time into the adult stage of their life cycle.
Some common species of ticks include:
1. Groundhog tick- This is the most common species of tick in Ontario and can be found on humans and pet/animals.
2. American dog tick- this is the second most common species of tick found in Ontario and they are also found on humans and pet/animals.
3. Blacklegged tick- this species of tick is the most important vector of Lyme disease and all stages of this species will feed on humans.
4. Winter tick- This species is widely distributed throughout Canada. They are most likely to be found on horses, deer, cattle, elk and moose and they rarely feed on humans.
5. Brown dog tick- They are recently established in Eastern Canada and all stages of this tick feeds on dogs
6. Rabbit tick- They are widely found throughout Canada and their preferred host rabbits, however they will also feed on ground-nesting birds and small mammals. It is rare for the rabbit tick to feed on livestock and humans.
Some of the effects on humans from a tick bite include irritation and/or swelling on the skin around the bite. The bite can become infected if any mouthparts are left behind once the tick has been removed and infection can sometimes, lead to blood poisoning although it is rare.
If you are having a pest problem, remember it is better to deal with is sooner rather than later as it can quickly become a very expensive problem to deal with. To book an appointment with Cottage Country Pest Control, give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email us today.