Perhaps no feeling gives humans the creeps like that of finding a tick crawling on them and the same applies when they find a tick on their dog. There is frequently hysteria about the blood-sucking habits of ticks and the diseases they can potentially transmit to us and our pets.
Tick species are widely distributed around the world, but they tend to flourish more in countries with warm, humid climates, because they require a certain amount of moisture in the air to undergo metamorphosis, and because low temperatures inhibit their development from egg to larva. Ticks are also widely distributed among host taxa, which include marsupial and placental mammals, birds, reptiles such as snakes, iguanas, and lizards, and amphibians. Some of the most debilitating species occur in tropical countries. Tropical ticks affect most domestic animals and occur in Africa and the Caribbean.
In general, ticks are to be found wherever their host species occur. Migrating birds carry ticks with them on their journeys; a study of migratory birds passing through Egypt found more than half the bird species examined were carrying ticks. The species of tick often differed between the autumn and spring migrations, probably because of the seasonal periodicities of the different species.
Ticks can detect their hosts via body odor, temperature, moisture, and vibration. The sensory organ which helps in identification of potential hosts is located on the legs. Ticks are not able to fly or jump. When they identify the ideal host, ticks crawl until they find a suitable place to attach themselves. They prefer skin on the area of head, neck, and ears because it is soft and can be penetrated easily.
Did you know that ticks require a blood meal to survive?! That’s right! Ticks require blood for sustenance. If a tick bites you, it’ll probably stick around for a few days. A single adult female can consume 0.6 mL of blood or more. The first thing the tick will likely do is look for a good spot to set up its proverbial picnic basket. Then it starts meal prep, sometimes for as long as two hours. Since some ticks are relatively small, the larva can be smaller than a millimeter, there’s a good chance you won’t notice one’s on you. Next, the tick burrows its creepy little head into your skin, unpacks its feeding tube, and spits out a cocktail of blood-thinning, skin-numbing, human-immune-system-fighting saliva. Then it’ll likely feed for about 2 to 3 days, and, if it’s a female, can swell up to nearly in double its normal size—which is useful for when it needs to lay eggs. They produce around 2000 eggs that are usually laid under the pile of leaves. Ticks can survive from 2 months to 2 years, depending on the species. Also, they can survive without food 200 days.
“It’s not like a mosquito, which stays on you for a few minutes,” says Peter Krause, MD, a senior research scientist in epidemiology and microbial diseases at the Yale School of Public Health.
Unlike many other biting pests, ticks are adapted to feed for long periods of time. They bury their curved teeth deeply into the skin of a host, so they can remain securely attached for days on end to eat. It’s important to note that ticks typically require 24-48 hours of feeding before they can successfully transmit infections. There about 850 tick species, some of which are capable of transmitting diseases such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The spinose ear tick has a worldwide distribution, the young feeding inside the ears of cattle and wild animals. Ticks of domestic animals cause considerable harm to livestock by transmission of many species of pathogen, as well as causing anaemia and damaging wool and hides.
Tick, Tick, Tick: Blood-Sucking Menace May Get Early Start
By RICK FOSTER, The Sun Chronicle
ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) — Ticks are normally thought of as a menace mostly in the warmer months when children, pets, and adults spend more time outdoors and bring home the hitchhiking insects.
But thanks to recent rain and snowfall together with a warmer February, they may be getting a head start this year.
“Warm weather tends to bring them out,” said Lauren Gordon, director of the Audubon Society’s Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary, who added that she got a reminder of tick season recently when she had to remove one from her son. “We’re reminding hikers to take precautions and do tick checks to make sure they’re not taking ticks with them.”
While the deer tick is typically smaller than the dog tick, it’s difficult for most people to differentiate between the two. Experts recommend avoiding both types.
Lyme disease is on the rise in Ontario — here’s how to protect yourself
By Trevor Dunn, CBC News Posted: May 19, 2017
Officials are warning about Lyme disease with warmer weather and an increase in blacklegged ticks
Ontario public health officials are asking residents to watch out for ticks, the tiny arachnids that can spread Lyme disease.
Dr. Curtis Russell, a biologist with Public Health Ontario, told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning that the agency is tracking a “steady increase” in the number of cases of Lyme disease.
“We’re also seeing an increase in the number of blacklegged ticks, which is the only tick that can transmit Lyme disease in Ontario,” Russell said on Friday.
This shows that these small creatures can cause a huge nuisance. This menace needs to be stopped. Also, the solution to stop the nuisance caused by the midges has to effective and environment-friendly. You’ll find all sorts of tick removal suggestions on the Internet, according to a review in the British Medical Journal. People recommend rubbing petroleum jelly, gasoline, nail polish, or 70% isopropyl alcohol over the tick’s mouthparts, ostensibly to “suffocate” it. The problem is, say the researchers, none of these methods actually work—ticks can survive long periods without air. So trying these methods is of no use.
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