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Several species of ticks attack dogs, but cats are rarely infested. Many of the dog ticks are known as wood ticks and infest dogs when they run through the woods or fields. Ticks can also annoy people but humans are not the preferred host. Ticks are not insects, and are closely related to the spiders. Adult ticks have eight legs. All ticks are parasitic, feeding on the blood of animals. Of the ticks found in Florida, the brown dog tick, and the American dog tick, are the most troublesome. The brown dog tick rarely bites humans, but Figure 1. Brown dog tick (male left & female right). Credits:
infestations are frequently found on dogs and in the home. The American dog tick attacks a wide variety The adult female tick lays a mass of 1000-3000 of hosts, including humans, but rarely will infest eggs after engorging on a dog's blood. These eggs are often found in cracks on the roof of kennels or high Brown Dog Tick
on the walls or ceilings of buildings. In the house, eggs are laid around baseboards, window and door The brown dog tick (Figure 1) seldom attacks casings, curtains, furniture, and edges of rugs. The animals other than dogs. It is most likely found where egg-laying females are often seen going up walls to dogs are kept in or around the house. The brown dog tick is not known to transmit diseases to humans but The eggs hatch in 19-60 days into a six-legged, small seed tick. The seed tick takes a blood meal 1. This document is ENY-206, one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date: June 1991. Revised: February 2003. Please visit the EDIS Website at
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Additional information on these organisms, including many color photographs, is available at the Entomology and Nematology
Department website located at http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. P. G. Koehler, professor/extension entomologist and F. M. Oi, assistant extension entomologist, Entomology and Nematology Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.
The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication does not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition. Use pesticides safely. Read and follow directions on the manufacturer's label. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational
information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin.
For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative
Extension Service/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/University of Florida/Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean.

from dogs when they are available. The larvae are so days. The unfed larvae crawl in search of a host and small they won't be noticed on the dog unless a can live 540 days without food. When a small rodent number are together. The seed tick remains attached is found, the larvae attach and feed for approximately for 3-6 days, turns bluish in color, and then drops to 5 days. The larvae then drop off the host and molt to the floor. After dropping from the host, the seed tick the nymphal stage. The nymphs crawl about in search hides for 6-23 days before molting into an of a rodent host, attach to it, and engorge with blood eight-legged, reddish-brown nymph. It is now ready in 3-11 days. Nymphs can live without food for up to for another blood meal and again seeks a dog host. The nymphs attach to dogs, drop off, and molt to the adult in 12-29 days. As a reddish-brown adult, it Adults crawl about in search of dogs or large again seeks a blood meal, becomes engorged, and is animals for a blood meal. Adults can live for up to 2 bluish in color, reaching about 1/3 inch in length. years without food. American dog tick adults and many other species can be found along roads, paths, Unengorged larvae, nymphs, and adults may live and trails, on grass, and on other low vegetation in a for long periods of time without a blood meal. Adults "waiting position." As an animal passes by the tick have been known to live for as long as 200 days will grasp it firmly and soon start feeding on its host. without a blood meal. Indoors, ticks hiding between The males remain on the host for an indefinite period blood meals may be found behind baseboards, of time alternately feeding and mating. The females window casings, window curtains, bookcases, inside feed, mate, become engorged, and then drop off to lay upholstered furniture, and under edges of rugs. Outdoors, ticks hide near foundations of buildings, in crevices of siding, or beneath the porch.
The American dog tick requires from 3 months to 3 years to complete a life cycle (Figure 3). It is American Dog Tick
typically an outdoor tick and is dependent on climatic and environmental conditions for its eggs to hatch. The American dog tick (Figure 2), is also a common pest of pets and humans in Florida. The adult males and females are frequently encountered by sportsmen and people who work outdoors. Dogs are the preferred host, although the American dog tick will feed on other warmblooded animals. The nymphal stages of the American dog tick usually only attack rodents. For this reason the American dog tick is not considered a household pest. Figure 3. Tick life cycle. Credits:
Importance of Ticks
When feeding, ticks make a small hole in the skin, attach themselves with a modification of one of Figure 2. American dog tick. Credits: J. F. Butler,
the mouthparts which has teeth that curve backwards, and insert barbed piercing mouthparts to remove blood.
The female dog tick lays 4000-6500 eggs and then dies. The eggs hatch into seed ticks in 36-57 The presence of ticks is annoying to dogs and mouthparts enter the skin and pulled straight out with humans. Heavy continuous infestations on dogs cause firm pressure. A small amount of flesh should be seen irritation and loss of vitality. Pulling ticks off the host attached to the mouthparts after the tick is removed. may leave a running wound which may become infected because of their type of attachment. People entering tick infested areas should keep clothing buttoned, shirts inside trousers, and trousers The brown dog tick is not a vector of human inside boots. Do not sit on the ground or on logs in disease, but it is capable of transmitting canine bushy areas. Keep brush cleared or burned along frequently traveled areas. Repellents will protect exposed skin or clothing (Table 1). However, ticks will sometimes crawl over treated skin to untreated Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and other diseases from animals to people. Dogs are not affected by these diseases, but people have become infected by Pesticidal control of ticks may require both pet picking ticks from dogs. People living in areas where treatment and treatment of the infested area. If a these wood ticks occur should inspect themselves heavy tick infestation occurs it is necessary to treat several times a day. Early removal is important since pets, home, and yard at the same time. Established disease organisms are not transferred until the tick brown dog tick infestations of homes and yards are The American dog tick is also known to cause Pets should be treated by using dusts, dip or paralysis in dogs and children where ticks attach at sprays. Rub dusts into the fur to the skin being the base of the skull or along the spinal column. careful not to allow chemicals to get into the eyes, Paralysis is caused by a toxic secretion produced by nose, or mouth. Heavy infestations of ticks on the the feeding tick. When the tick is removed, recovery animal should be controlled by spraying or dipping. is rapid, usually within 8 hours. Sensitized animals may become paralyzed by tick attachment anywhere recommendations for direct pet treatment.
Premise sprays are registered for tick control. Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, but few Read the label thoroughly to be certain that the site cases have been reported in Florida. Most and type of application (lawn, house, crawl space, transmission occurs in the New England states, and the primary vector is the deer tick. The deer tick is not prevalent in Florida, but species that are close Insecticides should be applied inside the house relatives and are capable of transmitting Lyme carefully as light, spot treatments to areas where ticks disease are common throughout the state. The are known to be hiding. These can be applied indoors American dog tick and the brown dog tick are not as crack and crevice or surface treaments (see Table considered important vectors of Lyme disease. In 2). For heavy infestations indoors, or when egg cases of tick bites where Lyme disease is suspected, a masses of ticks hatch, space sprays can be applied to physician should be contacted so that appropriate give quick knockdown (Table 3). Outdoors, infested blood tests can be done for the patient.
areas should be treated by applying a broadcast treatment of insecticide to the landscape (Table 4).
Special effort should be given in treating areas frequented by pets. Applications at 2-4 week intervals Ticks should be removed from pets and humans may be necessary to eliminate the ticks. Pets should as soon as they are noticed. Ticks should be removed be kept off treated surfaces until dry. Apply products carefully and slowly. If the attached tick is broken, according to label directions. Do not apply these the mouthparts left in the skin may transmit disease or cause secondary infection. Ticks should be grasped with tweezers at the point where their Table 1. Repellents labeled for tick management.*
Common Name
Homeowner Product*
Cutter (28.5%)Muskol (25%)Off (14.25%)Off (Deep Woods) (28.5%)Ultrathon Lotion (31.0%) Repel (Permanone Insect Repellent) (0.5%) (clothes only)
*Read label carefully to insure pest, site, and commodity are listed prior to applying product. Some product
labels are very restrictive.

Table 2. Tick management products labeled for indoor surface or crack and crevice treatment.*
Common Name
Homeowner Products
Commercial Products
Bayer Power Force Carpenter Ant & Termite Killer Plus PT Cy-Kick Crack & Crevice Pressurized ResidualPT Cy-Kick CS Controlled Release Cyfluthrin PT Cy-Kick CS Crack & Crevice Pressurized Residual Cynoff ECCynoff Power Spray InsecticideCynoff WPCynoff WSBPrevail FT Termiticide KickerPT Tri-Die Silica & Pyrethrum DustPT ULD BP-300 PT Microcare CS Controlled Release PyrethrumPT Microcare Pressurized Pyrethrum Capsule SuspensionPT Pro-ControlPT Pro-Control PlusPT Tri-Die Pressurized Silica & Pyrethrin DustPT ULD BP-100Tri-Die Silica & Pyrethrum Dust Table 2. Tick management products labeled for indoor surface or crack and crevice treatment.*
Common Name
Homeowner Products
Commercial Products
PT P.I. Contact InsecticidePT ULD BP-50 Pyrenone 50Synerol Insecticide * Read label carefully to insure pest, site, and commodity are listed prior to applying product. Some product
labels are very restrictive.

Table 3. Tick management products labeled for indoor space treatment.*
Common Name
Homeowner Products
Commercial Products
PT Pro-ControlPT Pro-Control PlusPT ULD BP-100 * Read label carefully to insure pest, site, and commodity are listed prior to applying product. Some product
labels are very restrictive.

Table 4. Tick management products labeled for outdoor treatment.*
Common Name
Homeowner Trade Name
Commercial Trade Name
Bayer Power Force Carpenter Ant & Termite Killer Plus Talstar CA Granular Insecticide Talstar EZ Granular InsecticideTalstar F Insecticide/MiticideTalstar GC Granular InsecticideTalstar PL Granular InsecticideTalstar Termiticide/Insecticide Table 4. Tick management products labeled for outdoor treatment.*
Common Name
Homeowner Trade Name
Commercial Trade Name
Control Indoor & Outdoor Insect Killer Bayer Advanced Lawn & Garden Multi-Insect KillerBayer Power Force Ant Killer Ready-to-Use GranulesBayer Power Force Multi-Insect Killer Ready-to-Spread Granules Ortho Bug-B-Gon Multipurpose Insect Killer Astro InsecticideDragnet SFR Termiticide/Insecticide * Read label carefully to insure pest, site, and commodity are listed prior to applying product. Some product
labels are very restrictive.

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