Although Florida is home to several species of ticks, the Brown Dog Tick is the only one that will readily infest homes. This species does poorly outdoors. They are accustomed to dry warm conditions where the dog lives, such as a dog house, barn or even one’s home.
Both immature and adult ticks feed on blood. Adult females require a blood meal to develop their eggs. Once a female tick is engorged with blood, she will drop off the host and stay in close proximity, usually in the area where the pet rests. At that time, she will lay a mass of eggs reaching well up to 3,000 eggs or more. The eggs are deposited high on the walls of the structure in cracks and crevices around the ceiling or roof, depending on the type of construction. In homes, the eggs are often found near wall hangings and the ceiling. The female dies shortly after egg laying. The eggs hatch in 20 to 60 days depending on the conditions.
The tick hatchlings are 6-legged larvae, also known as seed ticks. These tiny seed ticks climb down the walls in search of a host, usually a dog. They will feed on the host for about 6 days, then drop off and look for a safe place to molt. In two or three weeks, they will emerge as 8-legged nymphs and begin their trek to adulthood.
Brown Dog Ticks prefer to feed on dogs, but will feed on other mammals. They rarely feed on humans; however, they have been known to be vectors of several disease organisms including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. With this in mind, don’t think if the dog is removed from the situation it will remedy an infestation of Brown Dog Ticks. They may resort to feeding on an alternate source.
Knowing the feeding and breeding habits of the Brown Dog Tick is fundamental when it comes to successfully controlling them. There is no easy fix and multiple trips by a Pest Management Professional to the infested home will likely be necessary. It is also a multi-faceted approach, in that the pet, interior, and exterior of the building must be addressed.
It’s important that the pet be treated, preferably by a veterinarian, just before or while the home is being treated. The pet’s bedding should be closely inspected and cleaned. Furniture such as beds, couches, recliners, etc., should receive a thorough inspection along with crack and crevice treatments by a Pest Management Professional. It’s also recommended that furniture be moved away from walls for inspection and treating purposes.
The following are places where Brown Dog Ticks are known to hide:
- Wall and floor crevices
- Behind baseboards
- Window and door frames
- Wall hangings
- Under the edge of the carpet
- Wall and ceiling moldings and corners
- Electrical plates
- Curtain rods
- Pleats in curtains
- Window blinds
- Any crack or crevice close to where the pet rests
Along with the interior of the home, Brown Dog Ticks may also be present on the exterior of the building. This is especially true if the pet spends time outdoors. Think down low and up high. Any crack or crevice on the exterior of the building should be inspected and treated by a Pest Management Professional.
Because these ticks can survive in the wild, an application in the yard must also be performed. The Pest Management Professional will concentrate on parts of the yard immediately around the structure and areas where the pet spends a lot of its time. This would include places such as the dog house, holes dug by the dog, tree trunks, shrubs, and privacy fences. Dogs don’t spend a lot of time lying around in open sunny areas, so the heaviest populations are usually in shaded areas, such as under trees and shrubs.
If you’re not sure there are ticks in your yard, use a white towel. Attach the towel to a stick and drag it through spots where the dog spends its time outside. If there are ticks, they will grab onto the towel, just as they would a dog when it passes by. With that being said, make sure to check your clothing for ticks, as well.
If you’re experiencing a tick infestation or have concerns, contact us. We can help!