Fleas, Ticks & Bugs

How to control and kill ticks – Part 1

Each year as the warm weather approaches, dog owners should be increasingly apprehensive about those gluttonous, disease-carrying “Rhipicephalus Sanquineus”. This dangerous creature can infect man with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, cause paralysis, and even kill dogs and puppies.

Referred to by most everyone as ticks, these parasites are blamed for carrying the micro-organism that caused the death of so many British war dogs in Singapore several decades ago. And during the Vietnam war, more than 300 U.S. war dogs had died mysteriously from tropical canine hemorrhagic syndrome, and canine hemorrhagic fever. Intensive studies resulted in the finger of guilt pointing directly at the ordinary tick.

Although there are several different species of ticks (wood tick, brown dog tick, etc.), a tick by any other name is still a tick. Because of resistance to insecticides, the tick is one of the most difficult external parasites to control.

The female tick will lay up to five thousands eggs in the crevices of a kennel, baseboard, or under the carpeting in the home. Eggs are never deposited upon the host animal. After twenty to thirty days have elapsed, the eggs hatch and become larvae. The larvae then seek out a host dog, gorge themselves on his blood, then drop off again to hide.

Six to twenty-three days later, the larvae molt and become eight-legged nymphs. The nymphs obtain another blood meal from a dog, drop off again and go into hiding. Twelve to twenty-nine days later, the nymph tick molts and becomes an adult. As an adult, it once more seeks the dog, engorges blood, and mates.

From the time the eggs hatch – and before the tick becomes an adult – it returns to the host dog more than once to feed on the canine’s blood. Once hatched however, a tick can live in a house for up to two years without needing a host dog to feed on.

Out of doors, ticks climb onto branches and into foliage to await the arrival of a dog host. A dog napping under a bush, or walking within jumping distance of the tick is all that is needed to provide the parasite with a host. In the home, ticks will emerge from beneath rugs and carpeting, climb walls, table and chairs, and even up as high as wall pictures, to await the passing of a dog. They may even have to wait up to six months, but a tick can instantly sense the approach of a dog and jump on it as it passes.