Ticks are not a sight that anyone wants to see, in their home, on themselves, or on their pets. Ticks are usually picked up outdoors in long grasses, dense vegetation and areas with heavy ground cover. You may not know that you or a pet have brought a tick into the home. Because of this, you may be wondering how long can ticks live in a house.
Tick behavior indoors and outdoors
Unlike other pests that will seek out shelter in homes, ticks are not actively trying to enter your home. And they don’t usually live in big groups like other common pests, such as termites and bed bugs. Instead, ticks are focused on finding a host in order to feed themselves. Ticks are ectoparasites, living outside the host, relying on the blood of their hosts in order to live. The way ticks find hosts can vary.
How long ticks can live in a house can also vary by the species of tick. According to Cornell University, the blacklegged tick won’t usually survive for more than a day indoors unless near a moist environment; the American dog tick and lone star tick can live for up to a few days indoors, but not usually long enough to feed again; on the other hand, the brown dog tick can complete its whole life cycle indoors. Some species are associated with pet bedding and can complete an entire cycle once inside
So, for the most part, ticks are not able to survive for very long indoors. This is good news. But this doesn’t mean you should discount ticks as a nuisance (and a potentially dangerous one) that you need to worry about. And, we already know that ticks can sometimes spread a variety of dangerous illnesses. Each species of tick has the ability to carry different disease pathogens. It’s important to be diligent about ticks, not just for yourself but for other family members and pets.
How to recognize ticksNow that you know how long a tick can live indoors, it’s worth reviewing the key characteristics of a tick so you can recognize one if you see it.
- Ticks are flat, usually a teardrop or oval shape
- Ticks do not have wings
- Like other arachnids, ticks have eight legs (their larvae, on the other hand, have six legs)
- After ingesting blood, ticks can grow in size and appear more bulbous than flat
If you have a pet, especially a dog or cat that spends a lot of time outdoors, make sure to check it diligently and talk to a vet about preventative treatments for ticks. After all, a tick that hitches a ride on your pet may move onto you next.
What to do if you have a tick
in 2018, there were over 45,000 reported cases of tick-borne diseases. If you find a tick on you, the CDC has a helpful guide on how to remove it. One thing to note is to use tweezers to remove the tick and not crush the tick between your fingers as you’re removing it. As the CDC recommends, keep a close eye on the site of the bite. If a rash develops, immediately see your doctor. Lyme disease is known for the bulls eye rash that appears after getting bitten by a tick carrying the disease. Ticks spread disease by ingesting pathogens from the blood of an infected host, and then after dropping off of that host, the tick may spread those pathogens to its next host at the time of feeding. Simply coming in contact with a tick won’t necessarily result in catching a disease or pathogens that tick has.
It’s important to remember that it’s not just humans and pets that can carry ticks. Other rodents and deer can also be hosts to the pesky parasites. That’s why when it comes to tick control, you should consider all the avenues for a tick to find its way to your yard and potentially into your home.
While there are some steps you can take to prevent contact with ticks, part of a complete program is calling in a professional when it comes to treating your yard. If you’ve seen multiple ticks or just want to be proactive after seeing a tick, don’t wait to contact Terminix. A Terminix pest professional will be able to help inspect your yard for tick friendly areas and offer solutions to reduce ticks in your yard.