Ticks may look like tiny spiders, but they are not. They belong to the arachnid family, which includes spiders, scorpions, and mites.
Ticks are among the most efficient carriers of disease because they will attach firmly when sucking blood, feed slowly, and can go undetected for a considerable amount of time while feeding. These mini-vampires will take several days to fill up their fuel tanks.
Ticks, both male and female, feed on the blood of their chosen victims, which are usually humans. Once they’re full, they simply let go of their food “truck” and drop to the ground, where males continue on the hunt for new partners and females scramble for the ideal spot to lay their eggs. Mother ticks keep an eye out for their young by selecting an acceptable host’s nest, hole, or burrow. When the eggs hatch, they will have enough food.
After the egg hatches, the tiny larva (also known as a “seed tick”) feeds on an available host. With a blood meal, the larva then develops (molts) into the larger nymph. The nymph, again, feeds on a host and then molts into an even larger adult.
How can you recognize a tick?
Adult male ticks are often smaller than adult females. Ticks have a flattened oval or teardrop-shaped body before feeding. Females’ bodies become plump and rounded after gorging on blood.
The size of the dorsal shield is a simple method to tell the difference between male and female ticks of any species. Males’ dorsal (top) shields cover virtually the whole abdomen, whereas females’ dorsal shields only cover a tiny part of the abdomen, regardless of species.
The gender of the tick must be determined. Adult male ticks follow a catch-and-release feeding strategy. They may attach to you and perhaps take a drink of your blood, but they do not feed themselves on it, becoming bloated and obese.
Males are not known to be carriers of dangerous diseases as a result of this feeding method. Any bloated tick you discover stuck in the skin of yourself, your pet, or another animal is almost likely female, and she will spread her illnesses from host to host indiscriminately.
Ticks come in two body types, hard ticks and soft ticks and each has a different way to reproduce. Hard ticks prefer a dinner date with benefits. Mating occurs on the host, whereas, soft ticks mate on the ground, off-host. Soft ticks are not noted to be carriers of disease. The hard tick female dies after egg laying but the soft tick female can live for several years reproducing multiple times.
Beware out there! Ticks are ambush hunters and you may be on their menu and in their sights.
Call Calibugs (760)699-8540 or for more information visit Calibugs Termite & Pest Control.