TICK CONTROL, LLC IS A PEST CONTROL SERVICE IN CT
SPECIES OF TICKS
BROWN DOG TICK (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) Tick Control, LLC
The brown dog tick, or Rhipicephalus sanguineus, is one of the most common tick species found on dogs. These ticks are distributed all over the world but thrive in warmer climates. In the United States, they’re prevalent in the southeast, notably Florida. In Connecticut and northeastern states, they’re found almost exclusively indoors.
The brown dog tick is unusual among tick species because it’s able to spend its whole lifecycle indoors. Its preference for warm, dry environments allows it to thrive in residential homes, notably near dog kennels. Female ticks like to lay their eggs in above-ground cracks and crevices, so they might be harder to spot. Once the larvae hatch and begin searching for food, however, they come out in the open on furniture, dog bedding, and baseboards.
Dogs are the preferred host for these ticks, but they will seek other mammals – including humans – if no dogs are available. However, for a large number of these ticks to manifest in a residential home, usually a dog is necessary as a host.
That shouldn’t stop you from checking every animal in your home, including yourself, for brown dog ticks. They’ve been known to attach to other mammals like cats and rodents on occasion.
Like all ticks, the brown dog tick passes through egg, larva, nymph, and adult phases in its lifecycle. Once it hatches, a larva will quest for a host, where it can spend 5-15 days feeding. The larva then drops off its host and molts into a nymph.
Nymphs will often return to the same host as before, though not always. Once a nymph has fed, a 3-13 day process, it will repeat the cycle, dropping off the host to molt into an adult. Molting for these ticks lasts up to 2 weeks.
Finally, as an adult, the brown dog tick quests for a host for its final blood meal and to find a mate. Male ticks don’t become as engorged as females, who need the meal to lay over 4,000 eggs. Once the female has fed and been fertilized, she will drop off the host, lay her eggs, and die.
The lifecycle of the brown dog tick is dependent on climate conditions. Their full development can be as short as 2 months in warmer temperatures. If there aren’t hosts available or if the climate is cooler, these ticks can last between 3 and 5 months without feeding. It’s typical to see 2 generations of these ticks in a year.
Brown dog ticks are reddish-brown with spherical bodies, making them easily recognizable. However, they vary in appearance slightly throughout their lifecycle, leading homeowners with an infestation to believe they have different types of ticks in their house.
Furthermore, these ticks get progressively bigger as they pass through larval, nymph, and adult phases. An engorged female brown dog tick will increase 100x in size, going from the normal reddish-brown color to a bluish-gray.
These ticks prefer dogs as their host and will attach themselves near the dog’s head, back, ears, toes, and axilla – where the leg attaches to the body. These are areas you should pay greater attention to when trying to root out an infestation or prevent one from happening. And keep in mind that brown dog ticks can reattach to the same host throughout their lifecycles, so your dog could be attacked by the same ticks more than once.
The brown dog tick is a primary vector for canine diseases such as canine ehrlichiosis and canine babesiosis. Ehrlichia canis and Babesia canis are only 2 of the several bacteria that can be carried by these ticks. These bacteria are not known to cause disease in humans.
Ehrlichia canis and Babesia canis are spread when dogs visit high-traffic places like dog kennels, veterinary clinics, or grooming facilities. The pathogen cannot spread by dog-to-dog contact, though. The tick must attach itself and transmit the bacteria when it feeds.
As for human disease, this tick is a major vector of Rickettsia rickettsia, the agent causing Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. But this is primarily in Mexico and uncommon in the northeast United States.
As with most ticks, the best defense against an infestation is vigilance. While your dog can be treated for the canine diseases it could contract, prevention is always the better option. Always check your dog for ticks after you’ve visited a place frequented by other dogs, and after you’ve been outside in high-grass areas. Additionally, speaking to your veterinarian about prevention methods is always advised. By knowing what you’re up against, you can protect your pet and your home from harmful pests like the brown dog tick.