tick life cycle

Tick Life Cycle & Feeding

Ticks go through 4 life stages:

  1. egg
  2. six-legged larva
  3. eight-legged nymph
  4. adult

After hatching, ticks must eat a blood meal at every stage to survive. They can feed on mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Most ticks prefer to have a different host animal at each stage of their life, as shown below:

tick life cycleHow ticks find their hosts:
Ticks find their hosts by detecting animal odors or by sensing body heat and moisture. Some species even recognize a shadow. When on the hunt, ticks pick a place to wait by identifying well-used paths. Then they wait for a host, legs outstretched resting on the tips of grasses and shrubs. Ticks can’t fly or jump, but can climb onto a host undetected. Some ticks will attach quickly and others will wander, looking for places like the ear, or other areas where the skin is thinner.

Ticks spread disease (anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Lyme disease to name a few) through the feeding process:

  1. pierces the skin with it’s barbed feeder tube
  2. secretes anesthetic saliva to remain undetected
  3. sucks blood for several days (ingesting any bloodborne pathogens of host)
  4. drops off host and prepares for next life cycle, when it will feed again and share any newly acquired diseases

For more info on how to protect your family and pets from tick-borne diseases without the use of toxic chemical pesticides, click here.

upc-admin-usherTick Life Cycle & Feeding