Precautionary measures and judicious regular checking are important as ticks are more common during the warmer period.
There are different ticks in the world, but in this article, we will be sharing insight about a certain kind of tick called the deer tick, which is also known as the black-legged tick.
Not every tick are carriers of the Lyme disease, but the deer tick is. They go about looking for a host to help them reach the next phase of their life cycle.
To prevent yourself from being their host, kindly read further to know more about them.
Table of Contents
- The life cycle of ticks
- Coming in contact with a deer tick
The female ticks produce eggs in the spring after completing their lifespan, which is about two years. The significance of the female tick is to propagate by feeding throughout every life phase.
The female tick obtains the strength needed for them to mate. Ticks are incapable of laying eggs physically on the host, so they need to disengage from their host before the reproduction process commences.
They lay their eggs on the carpet, furniture, outdoor leaf brush, and other warm spaces inside or outside. Despite being no more than 2mm in size, ticks have been known to produce thousands of eggs. The eggs are a lot easier to locate than the tick, and these eggs aren’t contagious at this stage.
The eggs have a brownish-red colour and appear to be transparent. If you come across a batch of tick eggs by chance, salt can be used to eradicate these eggs by drying them up. However, it is best to make use of insecticides or contact an exterminator.
The life cycle of ticks
Stage one: Larva
The eggs become the larva — larva are tiny maggots-like creatures and feed on host blood to boost their lifespan and keep their life cycle going.
The larva isn’t contagious throughout their hatching stage, and they look for smaller mammals as their host. The common mammals they feed on is the white-footed mouse. These mice are effective transmitters of Lyme disease.
If a tick finds and feeds on a mammal that carries the Lyme disease, such as the white-footed mouse, it can then be transferred to the tick.
However, if the larvae can’t find a mouse to latch onto, they will feed on other little mammals like raccoons or even birds that may not be carriers of this disease. As a result, the larvae don’t become infected with the Lyme disease at this stage in their life.
Larvae do not transmit tick-borne diseases at the beginning of their life, but they can become carriers of the Lyme disease when they feed on an infected mammal exposed to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. This bacteria is known as “Borreliaburgdoferi.”
Larvae grow more rapidly in August due to the warmer climate during this period. When they are done feeding on a host, the Larvae will fall to the ground and begin to evolve into their subsequent life stage as nymphs.
Stage two: Nymph
The eggs grow to become nymphs between the fall and spring. Since ticks are passive when temperatures plunge below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, ticks are less inclined to bite during winter months.
They’ll generally latch onto a host without feeding or sit dormant in leaf litter, not seeking a host to live on. Regardless of this, if you and your household decide to go hiking on an unusually warm day, it’s essential to conduct tick checks before returning indoors.
At the nymph phase, ticks become the most significant concern throughout the spring as they begin to search for their next host as the warmer period approaches.
During May, June, and July, nymphs climb to the top of tall blades of grass and brush to get to their host.
Ticks neither jump nor fly but will wait for a suitable host to pass by and then attach themselves unto the host when they make contact. This is known as “questing.”
As the weather begins to change and your excitement to go outdoors grows, don’t forget to make use of a repellant spray, put on long clothing that covers your skin, and monitors your dog’s activity.
Dogs aren’t a tick’s first selection as a host, but your pets can quickly become substitutes when the ticks can’t find their primary option, which is a deer.
We recommend consulting your veterinarian before the warmer days approaches. Your veterinarian will most often suggest that your household pets should be cared for using tick and flea products. Also, you should inspect your animal’s body for ticks before going back into your homes.
When a nymph finds a host, it hangs onto and feeds on it for about four to five days. If the nymph was infected with the Lyme disease via feeding on a host in its larva phase, it could contaminate the new host at this moment or anytime in the future.
However, if it wasn’t contaminated during its larva stage, its host could get infected during the nymph stage.
Stage three: Adult
As soon as the nymph is filled with blood, it will jump off of its host and grow into its adult life phase during the fall.
At the adult stage, the tick will look out for its third and last host for feeding. Ticks like to feed on the blood from three different hosts throughout their lifetime.
Regrettably, humans can be amongst their hosts during the nymph or adult stage, and as a result of this, Lyme disease can be conveyed to us if the previous host contaminated the tick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disclosed that a tick would normally need to be connected to the skin for about 36 – 48 hours or more to transfer the disease.
Male tick generally dies soon after mating with one or two females, and females will propagate by laying thousands of eggs throughout the spring months and die immediately after that.
Coming in contact with a deer tick
Even after being educated on the tick life cycle and taking the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe, you and your household may still come in contact with a tick.
If you detect a tick on yourself or your loved ones, you can eliminate it with tweezers, but by doing this, you confront the risk of shattering the tick, thereby leaving its feeding duct and tick barbs in your skin.So contact your doctor to be on a safer side.