Brown Dog Tick – Order Acarina
Adult males are flat, about 1/8 inch long, and uniformly red-brown with tiny pits scattered over the back. They do not enlarge as much upon feeding as the females do. Adult females resemble the males in size, shape and color before feeding. As they feed, females become engorged and swell to inch long and 1/4 inch wide. The legs, mouthparts and shield area behind the head remain redish-Brown, but the enlarged portion of the body becomes gray-blue to olive.Immature stage Larvae, sometimes called “seed ticks”, have only six legs. Once they attach themselves to a host and get a blood meal, they will drop off, shed there skin and emerge with 8 legs.
Ticks can be found outdoors in southern United States during any time of the year, Ticks spend the bulk of their life on or near the ground. Since they cannot run, hop, fly, or move quickly, they must climb onto objects to wait for a host to pass by. Outdoors, ticks can be found in tall grass, shrubs, weeds, wood piles, brick and rock walls, under skirting of mobile homes, dog houses, as well as any place that a host may sleep and lounge on. Indoors, ticks can be found in and around the area that a host animal may rest and lounge, under corners of rugs and carpet, in folds of sofas, lounge chairs and cushions.
Ticks have four stages in their life cycle: egg, larva, nymph and adult. Adult ticks may require several days of feeding before they are able to reproduce. Male hard ticks usually die soon after mating, and females die soon after laying their eggs. Egg-laying begins about three days after the engorged adult female drops from the host. She may deposit as many as 5000 eggs in places such as between boards, under plaster, or carpeting or in other cracks and crevices. The eggs hatch in three weeks to several months, depending on the weather. They can live up to eight months while waiting for a host. Adults can live up to 11/2 years without feeding, but must feed before mating. After mating, the female will completely engorge herself with blood and then drops off the host to lay eggs. Mating usually occurs while adult ticks are on the body of the host animal. Adult females need only to feed once before laying one large batch of eggs.
A home can become heavily infested if the family dog picks up ticks from an infested residence, boarding kennel, open fields, or similar place where other infested dogs have been located.
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