Blog Author
Rafiki Pest Control LTD
  • June 6, 2024

Cartoonists will make you believe ants are the quickest way to ruin a picnic. But that's because there's no way to draw a cute cartoon tick. Besides ruining your outdoor events, these party crashers can also leave you and your guests with severe long-term health issues. 

Ticks are voracious, blood-sucking bugs linked to the spread of many nasty diseases. For decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease. Unfortunately, tick infections have been on the rise. Professional pest control experts play a huge part in curbing tick-borne diseases. 

What Is Tick?

A tick is a tiny parasitic arachnid commonly found in wooded areas. These spider-like creatures live by feeding on the blood of mammals, including people, animals, and birds.  

Like spiders, ticks have eight legs. But their bodies are relatively flat and oval-shaped. They are also tiny, with adult ticks measuring the size of an apple seed. The critters can be hard to spot, which explains why they spread diseases without getting caught. 

There are about 850 species of ticks worldwide. Of these, only a handful can be found in Nakuru. Some types of ticks in Nakuru have been found to carry pathogens and spread diseases, some of which can be deadly. 

You already know that these blood-suckers cause Lyme disease and other severe illnesses. Unfortunately, ticks don't stop there. They are second after mosquitoes in passing diseases to humans. 

The ticks that commonly spread diseases include: 

  • Blacklegged tick (deer tick)
  • Western black-legged tick
  • American dog tick (wood tick)
  • Rocky Mountain wood tick
  • Brown dog tick
  • Lone star tick
  • Gulf Coast tick

Ticks Life Cycle

Most tick species can live up to 3 years! Generally, it takes three months to two/three years for ticks to complete their entire life cycle. Ticks go through 4 life stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. They must feed on blood at every stage after hatching to survive. 

While some tick species, such as the brown dog tick, prefer feeding on the same host throughout their stages, other species, like the Ixodes scapularis tick, prefer feeding on different hosts at every stage of their life. Ticks that require many hosts typically take three years to complete their life cycle. However, most of them will die sooner because they often lack a suitable host for their next feeding. 

How Do Ticks Find Their Host? 

Hard ticks are usually diurnal, meaning they can attack and feed on a host during the day. Comparably, soft ticks are nocturnal pests that feed on blood at night. Some tick species have eyes that detect sunlight, shadows, and movement. Other species don't have eyes; they have sensors on the tip of their front legs that can detect a host's breath, vibrations, moisture, body heat, and body odors. 

Ticks strategically pick a well-used path where they wait for a host in a position known as questing. Because ticks don't fly or jump, they hold on to the tips of well-raised grasses, leaves, and shrubs with their third and fourth pairs of legs. Their first legs remain outstretched, waiting to climb on a host that brushes against the spot. While some ticks attach to a host immediately, others will wander in search of body areas where the skin is slender, such as the ears. 

How Do Ticks Feed and Spread Diseases? 

Ticks have a highly specialized biting technique, allowing them to pierce a host's skin with small mouthparts. Most tick species secrete a unique substance that keeps them firmly attached to a host's skin when feeding. They are slow feeders, and sometimes they can suck blood for 3-5 days. Because they produce a small amount of saliva with anesthetic properties, it's hard for a victim to feel a tick sucking their blood. So, if the tick is feeding on a covered spot, it can go for many days unnoticed. 

For a tick to spread diseases to its victims, it must be infected with a disease agent and attach itself to a host for a specific amount of time. Some species, like the black-legged tick, must attach for 24-48 hours to pass Lyme disease to a host. Less common tick-borne diseases like anaplasmosis take less time to be transmitted to a host. 

In the same way, if a host has a blood-related disease, the tick will consume the pathogens with the blood. Most ticks will drop off after feeding in preparation for the next life stage. The chances of a tick transferring the acquired disease-causing pathogens at its next feeding are high. 

Frequently Asked Question

Where are ticks found? 

Because most ticks don't like sunlight, you'll commonly find them hiding in thick leaves, under the ground cover around your home's perimeter, and under fallen logs/rocks. 

How does a tick bite look? 

Tick bites appear like a solid red and swollen oval. They can feel hot, but they usually don't itch. Sometimes, tick bites can develop a bull's eye pattern or dotted patches anywhere on a victim's body. 

Where do ticks lay their eggs? 

Ticks can lay their eggs just about anywhere, both indoors and outdoors. They prefer spots that feel warm, soft, and safe. You can find tick eggs in carpeting, furniture, and outdoor leaf brushes. 

Are ticks harmful? 

Some tick bites may be harmless, requiring no medical attention. However, the ticks mentioned above can carry harmful pathogens and transfer diseases like Lyme to humans and pets. 

Professional Tick Control Services 

Rafiki Pest Control professionals are trained to identify and treat tick problems with the needed urgency. Because every home is unique, we will work with you after a thorough inspection to tailor a tick treatment program customized to your situation. We will also treat the perimeter of your home/business to create a protective barrier against nuisance pests. 

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Duruma Rd, Down Town Towers. 8th Floor
Nairobi 100, Kenya

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