Archive for January, 2011

TICKS that don’t tock

Ticks…what can I say…I hate them. They are nasty little creatures and I do not know of one well seeded bugman that does not roll his eyes at the mere mention of the word….. “TICK” (BTW, I just rolled my eyes).

We responded to a tick problem from a new customer and much to our dismay, the event was a normal tick job…nasty. Not nasty as if the home was dirty, actually the home was immaculate in appearance. When I say “nasty”, it is in reference to the fact that we felt imaginary ticks crawling on us during the whole treatment. If you are an experienced pest control operator, you instantly understand what I am speaking about. This happens quite often when treating for ticks and bedbugs.

Our somatosensory system becomes superhuman and even the slightest dermal sensation is perceived as if a horde of ravenous ticks are attempting to attack us with their blood sucking parasitical bite.

Our inspection revealed that the heaviest concentrations were in the areas of where the family dog slept. The crate and the owners bed.

 Yes, the dark spots that you see on the mattress are ticks.

After ticks feed on the host, it is normal for the ticks to climb upwards and deposit their eggs.  Here is a photo of an infested curtain. 

Here is a photo of the ticks that were removed from the customers bed once the fitted sheets were removed, the customer was never bothered by ticks.

Do you see the small dot on the side of the plastic cup, below is the same picture enlarged.

The tick larva stage is very small and can hide practically anywhere.

LIFE CYCLE

Ticks have four developmental stages: egg, six-legged larva, one or more eight-legged nymphs and adult. Hard ticks usually mate on the host animal. The female then drops to the ground and deposits from 3,000 to 6,000 eggs, which hatch into larvae or “seed ticks.” Larvae climb nearby vegetation where they collect in large numbers while waiting for small rodents or other vertebrates to pass within reach. After a blood meal on the host, the engorged larvae drop to the ground. shed their skins (molt) and emerge as nymphs. Like larvae, the nymphs await the passage of a host, engorge themselves with blood, drop to the ground, molt and become adults. Adult ticks seek host animals and after engorgement, mate.

Male hard ticks usually mate with one or more females and then die, although some may live for several months. Females die soon after depositing their eggs in protected habitats on the ground. The life cycle requires from as little as 2 months to more than 2 years, depending on the species.

The treatment for ticks has to be custom-made for each and every job. It is imperative that the technician perform a complete inspection of the interior of the residence as well as the exterior for the residence. This residence was treated for ticks a month prior, the customer stated that the other pest control company never removed bed linens or even moved the dog crate around. Inspection is incredibly important.