Nobody wants to find fleas and ticks in their home, but pests have a way of worming themselves in when you least expect it. The brown dog tick is one you want to stay on the lookout for, especially since engorged brown dog ticks can expand the size of raisins! Here’s what you should know.
How to Identify a Brown Dog Tick
Even if you don’t have a dog, this tick can still enter your home. It is usually small and red-brown in color with an elongated body shape. While the brown dog tick can live anywhere in the world, it’s most common in warm climates like Florida. Once an infestation of brown dog ticks begins in a home, the numbers explode to high levels in mere days.
Habits of the Brown Dog Tick
The brown dog tick obviously prefers dog hosts, but will settle for other domestic animals or even humans. When a female tick lays eggs, she can lay up to 5,000 at a time! The total about is based on how much blood she has ingested from her host. After eggs hatch, the unfed larvae search for a host in order to suck blood. Once fed from a host, the larvae molts into a nymph which once again needs blood from a host. Again, the nymph molts into an adult brown dog tick and feeds on a host to survive. If the adult is a female, she will use that blood supply to lay more eggs and continue the cycle.
An adult female likes to feed on her host for a week before finding a secluded spot, like cracks and crevices in homes and garages, to lay eggs for up to 15 days in a row. Though that female adult dies after laying eggs, all of her larvae hatch and take up her quest.
Prevention and Management
Given the rate at which brown dog ticks can reproduce, most homeowners don’t even know they have an infestation until they suddenly see ticks crawling the walls and curtains! If you have a dog, make sure he is current on all flea and tick medications to minimize the chances of being used as a host. While your veterinarian can help keep your dog safe, you will also want to contact a pest control company to see what safe yet effective solutions are at your disposal to keep your house tick-free.