Identifying the Tick Life Cycle for Best Prevention Practices
Few pests are as frustrating as the tick for those struggling with pest control in Cape Cod. Ticks thrive in humid, shady areas, which abound in this area. These insects are quite irritable with itchy bites and heads that are hard to extract. They spread dangerous diseases like Rocky Mountain Fever and Lyme Disease. Taking care of a tick infestation is not only prevention of a nuisance but prevention of contagion.
Identifying Where Ticks Live
Before any other step in treating a yard for ticks, you must know what you’re looking for. A tick nest isn’t easy to spot, like with ants or wasps. Ticks are comparatively asocial—avoiding colonies and instead burrowing into the homes of their potential hosts by laying eggs to form solitary nests. Ticks typically lay their eggs in leaf litter or warm, soft locations.
As you treat a yard for ticks, ensure you know what tick eggs look like. Tick eggs appear so large that they are easier to spot than the ticks themselves. The eggs are a brownish-red shade and translucent, giving them a resemblance to caviar. A professional tick spray for the yard will eliminate the problem.
The Life Cycle of a Tick
It’s best to see the life cycle schedule of the tick to know the best prevention practices. With an awareness of when ticks lay their eggs to when they’re full ticks, knowing the habits of the ticks allows you to kill them at the best opportunity, making it one of the most effective forms of pest control. You can adequately time a professional tick spray for the yard without worrying you’ve missed the right window.
The cycle typically lasts 2-3 years and consists of four primary stages. Here’s an overview of the four stages of a tick’s life:
Tick mothers lay their eggs in grassy areas, typically in autumn. The tick eggs take time to gestate, traditionally hatching in spring. For this reason, the ticks are extra vulnerable at this moment. With their high visibility, the eggs are easy to spot and destroy. Get proactive and seek the eggs out at this time.
The larval phase generally begins in the spring but can run into summer. In larval form, ticks are different from their final forms. They boast six legs compared to the eight of their adult forms. They’re also smaller and paler than their adult counterparts. In the larval phase, ticks wait on the post of grass blades, attach themselves to animals and humans, and feed. They rarely carry disease-causing pathogens in this phase, so generally, the worst harm they cause is minor irritation or an allergic reaction.
In late summer to early fall, ticks leave their first host and molt, entering the nymph phase. In this phase, they feed on a new host, such as a rodent, though larger animals or humans are also an option. At this phase, ticks are almost undetectable, generally less than two millimeters in size. They’re also much more dangerous, carrying pathogens from their previous host to their next host. At this phase, the ticks genuinely become a problem and need elimination.
Following feeding on the second host, nymph ticks molt a final time, leave their second host, and become adult ticks. In this phase, also usually late summer or early fall, the ticks find their third and final host. These hosts are typically their most significant yet, humans or cattle. In this phase, the ticks are at high risk of infecting their hosts with deadly pathogens. Finally, in the summer, the ticks mate, killing the males, and female ticks drop off their hosts to lay eggs before dying themselves, continuing the life cycle again.
How Long Can Ticks Live Without Blood?
One thing to consider is that ticks aren’t safe without a host. While ticks usually need a source of blood to survive, they don’t necessarily need a host. There are multiple breeds of ticks in the United States, and various needs for each. Deer ticks, for example, can live up to a year without blood as adults. By contrast, American Dog ticks can last up to two years without blood. Treating a yard for ticks is a must, as dangerous as ticks are.
How to Prevent Ticks in Your Yard
With ticks, every preventative step pays off in keeping the dangerous parasites from your yard. If you’re looking at investing in pest control in Cape Cod, take these steps for maximum success after treatment:
Clear all tall grasses as well as any brush around your home and the perimeter of your lawn
Keep a 3-ft. wide barrier of gravel or wood chips around lawns, patios, and play equipment to inhibit tick migration
Mow your lawn constantly and rake your leaves
Make sure all places people congregate are in sunny areas away from shade
Avoid leaving trash, such as old furniture, in the yard, where ticks can breed
With these steps followed and an alert eye for the location of tick eggs, you’ll stay on top of the infestation. Ticks are a problem, but they don’t have to be with a cautious eye.
For best tick prevention practices, look to the professionals at The Yard Gard for maximum effectiveness. We’ll perform a professional tick spray for yards, using only the safest organic chemicals. Our specialty is ticks, mosquitoes, and any other pests with an exoskeleton, and our programs come in either one-time, annual programs or event sprays. For a premium spray from experts who understand the specific problem, look to us for your pest control needs.