Brown dog tick adults are about 1/8 in (3 mm) long, but when engorged with blood they are up to 1/2 in (12 mm) long and ¼-inch wide.
Uniformly red-brown, with tiny pits scattered over the back.
The brown dog tick infests homes and other buildings harboring dogs. These ticks have a strong tendency to crawl upward and may be found behind moldings at the top of walls or hidden in cracks and crevices in houses, garages, in the ceiling. They may also be found in furniture, behind curtains, behind radiators, behind baseboards, under rugs, around window, door moldings, on draperies and walls.
Ticks wait for host animals from the tips of grasses and shrubs (not from trees). When brushed by a moving animal or person, they quickly let go of the vegetation and climb onto the host. Ticks can only crawl; they cannot fly or jump. Ticks found on the scalp have usually crawled there from lower parts of the body. Some species of ticks will crawl several feet toward a host. Ticks can be active on winter days when the ground temperatures are about 45o Fahrenheit.
These ticks have a strong tendency to crawl upward and may be found behind moldings at the top of walls or hidden in cracks and crevices in the ceiling. Couple of this behavior with the climbing behavior of newly hatched larvae or other stages that have not obtained a blood meal recently, and one can understand why nearly all cracks & crevices in an infested premise must be carefully treated to obtain complete and adequate tick control.
A tick's diet consists of blood and only blood. Dog blood.
In the US, the brown dog tick prefers to feed on dogs in all stages. However, it will feed on other mammals, including domestic animals and humans. In the southeastern US, it has been reported occasionally from rodents and deer, but most collections are from dogs and (much less commonly) humans.
Brown Dog Tick Prevention Tips
- Some non-chemical techniques that help reduce tick problems include keeping grass and weed cut sort in tick-infested areas. This increases chances of tick desiccation during the summer, discourages alternative hosts, such as rodent and lessens the amount of plant material that may need acaricide treatment.
- Removal of clutter and debris on the property will also discourage rodent populations, as will removal of any nesting material left by rodents.
- Removal of bird nests in and around structures will reduce the number of ticks, especially of soft ticks.
- Fencing of yard and leash laws prevent dog from staying into tick-infested fields, woods and parks. However, where deer populations are high in urban or suburban areas, populations of the deer ticks that are vectors of Lyme disease are also likely to be high in yards, parks, schoolyards, cemeteries and golf courses and around ponds and along streams.
- Screening and sealing house entry points used by tick hosts, such as squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks and bats will also reduce tick problems in and around the home.
- Sealing cracks and crevices where ticks can hide, both inside and on the exterior of home, will aid in management.
- Regular examination and grooming of pets (especially dogs) and frequent cleaning of their bedding, is also strongly recommended.
- Infested pet bedding should be carefully washed or disposed of. The area around the pet bed should be carefully and thoroughly treated.
- Remove the occasional tick found indoors by vacuuming, seal the vacuum bag and place it in the trash.
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