Keep Yourself Tick Free
You’ve seen them before. The size of a grain of sand and moving around looking for skin to bite. You encounter them while you’re walking through thick grass or brush. They are so small you could classify them as baby ticks or seed ticks. As you look at them you may ask yourself…What are seed ticks?
The Beginning Of A Ticks Life
Every life has to start somewhere and a tick is no different. Once an egg is hatched the tick begins its life cycle in the larval stage. The larval stage is what you are looking at when you see a seed tick. Its the earliest and smallest stage in a ticks life cycle. It is at this stage that the tick will be looking for its first blood meal – necessary for its survival. Once received, it will not bite again until it reaches the nymph stage.
Will A Seed Tick Bite ?
Yes. However the chance of them biting you are directly correlated to the species. Deer Tick ( Sheep Tick – Europe and Taiga Tick – Asia) larvae have a higher chance of attaching
themselves to you than say the Winter Tick species. Deer Ticks are equal opportunity parasites. They can thrive off the blood of almost any mammal – human or not. The time that the larvae spends feeding is short. Combined , these two reasons are why deer tick larvae have a high chance of attaching themselves to you , while it might be lower with other species of ticks. In northern New England we regularly encounter masses of seed ticks attaching themselves to your clothing while hiking through grasses or brushy areas in the fall. To thrive, the winter tick needs to attach to Moose . Its feeding cycle is so long ( months) it will not survive on animals that groom themselves ( humans, deer etc..)
Does A Seed Tick Carry Disease ?
The answer is no. Prior to biting you it has never taken blood into its system. Because of this no pathogens are present in its gut. They will cause skin irritation however, if they do become attached. The best way to prevent them from becoming attached is to remove them immediately.
How Do They All Become Attached At Once ?
All seed ticks hatched from an adjacent egg sack. Many of these egg sacks will contain up to 1000 eggs.! These newly hatched larvae congregate in a group – attached to one another by tiny hairs on their legs. When a host brushes against them one will attach itself. As it does so the rest will follow. Sort of like a chain of monkeys. That my friends is how , in the blink of an eye, you end up with 300 of these nasty critters running around like crazy on your clothing.
How Do You Keep Them Off You?
- Avoid walking through brushy habitat – particularly where timber harvesting occurred within the last 3-10 years. Avoid habitat with knee high grass.
- Dress Properly – This cannot be stressed enough. Wear clothing with with Permethrin. When they get get on your clothing, the Permethrin will kill them quickly.
- Remove them immediately – when you see them on your clothing. The most efficient way is to use rolled duct tape.