What would happen if you could somehow interbreed a bed bug with a spider? Does this fictional creature sound horrific? Let's talk about ticks.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, ticks can be a major problem for you and your pets. Typically residing in lower elevations (for the warmer weather, dense foliage, and ample rainfall conducive to their reproductive cycle and survival), ticks are more prevalent in eastern and southern Oregon, but are still found often in other areas, especially along the coast.
Local ticks belong to two different families separated by whether the tick in question is hard-shelled or soft-shelled. There are dozens of types of ticks in the Pacific Northwest, but those commonly found feeding on humans fall into four main kinds, of which two are by far the most common: Deer ticks (Ixodes pacificus, and also known as the Western Black-Legged Tick) and “wood ticks” (various Dermacentor ticks). Of these, Deer Ticks are the primary culprit behind the spread of Lyme Disease, a debilitating disease closely associated with the ticks that transmit it to humans. In the short term, Lyme Disease is treatable, but if the infection becomes long-term, it can drastically effect one’s health, be misdiagnosed easily, and can even prove fatal. Lyme Disease can be transmitted when an infected tick (infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacteria that can reside in the digestive tract of up to 5% of ticks) has been attached for at least 24 hours to its host.
Most ticks detach after a day or two of feeding on a host. After this, they molt and continue their life-stage progression. Ticks typically require only three hosts/feedings to complete their entire life cycle. The most prevalent time in which ticks are encountered by humans is from late Spring to early Summer (rarely, they can sometimes be found up through Fall if the weather and conditions are just right). Though they are arachnids, you won’t typically find them in the same locations you’d expect to find spiders, with the exception of natural woodpiles and logs, as ticks begin their life cycle in the soil. Ticks reach animal and human hosts by hiding in wait on low-hanging foliage, brush, grasses, and leaves, and transfer to the host as it passes by. This is called “questing.”
Tick nymphs are incredibly small and are difficult to detect. They often attach to pets and, through this connection, can find their way into your home, and onto you. Like bed bugs, they require a blood meal in order to continue their progression through their three main life phases (larvae-> nymph-> adult), and without an initial blood meal, they cannot reach adulthood or reproduce. They will usually travel upwards toward the chest and head region before attaching to feed. Ticks even have a specialized organ in their forelegs that can detect chemical signatures, odors, and even temperature shifts that emanate from their potential host. Truly, they are quite good at what they do.
The most effective method of dealing with tick infestations is with a strong acaricide and a strategic, multi-tiered plan for removal of the parasite from areas in which they are most likely to encounter pets and people. Having your pets treated is, first and foremost, necessary for tick pest control to be successful, and should be included in all treatment plans. If you’re having tick trouble, Bug Zapper Pest Control has a guaranteed solution and offers a completely free initial inspection. We’re no stranger to these troublesome pests. Give us a call and we’ll schedule a free inspection for your home. After seeing what you’re dealing with, we’ll be able to create a customized, strategic plan for eliminating these pests from your pets, structure, and… well, from you.