INTRODUCTION: All ticks go through four life stages, egg, larval, nymph andadult. The life cycle of a tick requires 2 years to complete. Mating usually occurs in early spring (April/May)while adult ticks are on the body of the animal (host), which requires an adult female to have a blood-meal prior to reproduction. The adult female drops to the ground and deposits her eggs approximately 2,000-6,000 eggs, depending on species. The eggs hatch in about two weeks and larvae emerge. The larval are extremely small and are typically found in the leaf litter, where they feed on small animals such as mice and other small mammals.


Tick Life Cycle

After acquiring a blood-meal, the larvae are inactive until the next spring when they turn into nymphs. In late spring and early summer the nymphs feed on larger animals (dogs, birds, deer, etc.) they advance into an adult tick. In the fall, adults attach to and feed on a host (dogs, cats, deer, human, etc.). In the next spring the cycle starts again.

Tick ExterminatorsAdult ticks only die after they live their two year cycle. Ticks do not die off in the winter months. Adult males do not feed on blood and die shorty after mating. Ticks continue to feed whenever the temperature is above 35 degrees. Adult ticks are typically found in un-maintained vegetation between ankle and waist height. The habitat for ticks is primarily in forested areas grass lines, shrubs, flower beds, areas of dense ground cover, and around stone walls and woodpiles.


BLACKLEGGED TICK (DEER TICK): Deer ticks are the primary tick responsible for the transmission of Lyme Disease, and are also the carrier of human babesiosis and human anaplasmosis. Unfed females are about 1/8” long, with an orangish brown body and a dark brown plate located behind the mouthparts and legs. Males are smaller about 1/16” long, with a reddish brown overall body. Deer ticks climb grass and shrubs to wait for a passing host, and move very laterally. They concentrate on such vegetation located in transitional areas such as where forest meets field, mowed lawn meets un-mowed fence line, a foot/ animal trail through high grass. Other habitat most likely to harbor Deer ticks is in den, nest, or nesting area of its host, such as that of skunks, raccoons, opossums, but especially the deer mouse.

AMERICAN DOG TICK: American Dog ticks are the primary tick responsible for the transmission of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and also the carrier of tularemia. Unfed females are about 3/16” long, engorged female are about 5/8” long, male is slightly smaller - about 1/8” long. Both adults are reddish brown in color with whitish to grayish markings often with silvery hue on the back. American Dog ticks are the most frequently encountered tick and are the most likely tick to be found on both pets and humans. These ticks are attracted by the scent of animals and are most numerous along roads, paths, and trails, and will travel from their questing locations into manicured areas.

LONE STAR TICK: Lone Star ticks are capable of transmitting Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis (HME), Tularemia, and suspected of Lyme disease and possibly Rocky Mountain spotted fever.This tick is somewhat scarce in Connecticut, but can be found along the coastal communities in Connecticut. Lone Star ticks get their name from the single silvery spot located on the middle of the female’s back. Unfed females are about 1/8” long, engorged female are about 7/16” long, with reddish brown color, becoming slate gray when engorged. Male is slightly smaller, with reddish brown color with several inverted horseshoe-shaped whitish spots along rear margin. Lone Star ticks are very aggressive ticks and will actively travel from their questing locations into manicured areas. They are commonly found on a wide variety of animals, including humans.

BROWN DOG TICK: Brown Dog tick is not known for diseases, and is very specific to dogs and is rarely found on humans. This tick is a domestic species and is the only tick which will leave its host and infest the home. These ticks love to feed mainly on the ears, but can also be found on the head, neck, legs, chest, and belly. Unfed females are about 1/8” long, but enlarge up to about 1/2” long when engorged with blood. She is reddish brown in color, with a small dark dorsal shield just behind her mouthparts, when engorged, engorged parts of body change to gray-blue or olive color. Male is reddish brown with tiny pits scattered over the back, with a dark dorsal shield which covers the entire back. Brown Dog ticks do not do well outdoors in the woods; they prefer warm, dry conditions where dogs live. They are primarily found indoors in cracks and crevices of the home. It is believed that this tick is usually brought into homes by dogs which have picked them up while visiting infested structures such as veterinarians, groomers, kennels etc. Occasionally dogs will pick up Brown Dogs ticks while outside of the home in kennels or areas where they rest.

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