How Do Ticks Find a Host?

Mercer, Ocean, Monmouth, Somerset, & Middlesex County Tick Control

How do ticks find a host?

how-do-ticks-find-a-hostTicks are patient. They don’t fly, jump, hop, or fall from trees. To locate a host, they simply “quest,” which is perching in low vegetation and waiting for a host to brush by. With humans, ticks usually get their start by crawling off the ground onto your shoes or socks. And once on your body, they can crawl pretty quickly looking for exposed skin. They often choosing protective hairy areas like the head and underarms making them even harder to find. The tick attaches its hypostome, a fish hook like piercing clamp, into the host's skin and then fills up with blood like water balloon. Some ticks secrete a cementing material to fasten themselves to the host.

Multiple “animal to human” diseases can be contracted from a single tick bite through the transmission of bacterium, viruses, protozoa, and toxins. Deer ticks are especially big trouble. These ticks are opportunistic, nonselective feeders meaning that they don’t care who or what they bite.  These ticks are capable of transmitting diseased blood from one host group (commonly a diseased white-footed mouse), into the human bloodstream when it seeks a second blood meal. In a very real way, tick bites are like receiving a blood transfusion. And certain ticks may introduce blood into your bloodstream that is tainted with pathogens.

When dealing with ticks, it is best to contact a professional exterminator immediately. Cowleys Pest Services offers tick control throughout Edison, Lakewood, Somerset and surrounding regions of New Jersey. We are your Mercer, Ocean, Monmouth, Somerset, & Middlesex County tick control professional. Remember, ticks are parasites, and as a result, are on a continual quest for a host. If a host is not available, a tick can survive up to a year without feeding.

Where can ticks be found?

  • Dense Ground Cover: Areas including pachysandra, ivy, or thick shrubbery. Additionally this includes landscaped beds where rodents may harbor.
  • Forest Line: Where edge of a forest meets another habitat. Examples are forest meeting lawn, forest meeting meadow, forest meeting a street, etc.
  • Grass Line: Meeting point between an un-maintained and manicured area.
  • Leaf Litter: The organic debris that rests on a forest floor. In residential lawns, this would include areas of un-raked leaves and or branches and compost piles. Immature ticks (especially deer ticks) reside in these areas.
  • Manicured Area: Well trimmed and maintained lawns (grass 2" or less), parking lots, dirt without weeds etc.
  • Un-maintained Area: Any grassy or weedy area higher than 2" high.

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