Life Cycle of a Tick

At Mosquito Authority, we don’t just protect you and your family from mosquitoes; we offer tick extermination as well! Ticks are notorious for causing all sorts of diseases, from Lyme Disease to Rocky Mountain spotted fever to anaplasmosis. In order to survive, these pests latch onto animals and/or humans to get their meals. If you want to read some interesting facts about these pests, check out our blog highlighting some things you probably didn’t know about ticks.

Nobody really wants to think about ticks, but these creatures actually have a fascinating life cycle. Most ticks go through four life stages: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and adult. After hatching, a tick must eat a blood meal at every life stage in order to move onto the next one. The CDC estimates that preparing to feed can take anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours, depending on the species of the tick and its stage of life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Ticks that require this many hosts can take up to three years to complete their full life cycle, and most will die because they don’t find a host for their next feeding.” 

While the tick life cycle is very similar for all ticks, it does vary for some species. For example, the Rhipicephalus sanguineus, otherwise known as the brown dog tick, prefers to feed on the same host during all of its life stages. Most other species, however, need different hosts at each life stage. Ticks have the ability to feed on mammals, reptiles, birds, and amphibians, increasing the chance that they will come into contact with disease at some point in their lives.

When a tick feeds on someone or something with a bloodborne infection, it ingests the pathogens in that host’s blood. So, when that tick finds a new host during its next life stage, it can transfer whatever disease it has ingested to its new food source.

So, how do ticks find their hosts? According to the CDC, these pests can detect an animal’s (that includes humans) breath and body odors, as well as sense body heat, vibrations, and moisture. Ticks can also identify paths with a lot of traffic and search for hosts there. However, because ticks can’t jump or fly, they sit on leaves and/or tall grass and wait for a host to walk by.

This is why maintaining your yard is an important part of tick extermination. Because many ticks search for hosts in areas of tall grass and bushes, clearing this foliage from the edge of your lawn can help reduce the blacklegged tick population. You should also remove any leaf litter from your lawn and keep playground equipment away from trees.

We also highly recommend hiring a professional tick extermination service. Ticks can carry a wide variety of diseases, and exterminating them will give you more peace of mind when enjoying your outdoor space. Just like with our mosquito control service, Mosquito Authority offers you tick extermination with no contracts and no commitments. Call us today to schedule a tick treatment!