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Brown dog tick

Color of brown dog tick

Normally reddish-brown, which gives them their name. They are in fact not any redder when full of blood, but gray-blue or olive colored.

What does a brown dog tick look like?

Walnuts, or tiny beans? A brown dog tick’s body is flat and slightly wider in the rear. If you see them clinging to your dog's fur it might make you wonder if he got into your nut or bean stash. Males have tiny pits on their backs, similar to walnuts. Mouths are visible from above, and larvae have 6 legs.

Where are brown dog ticks found?

Brown dog ticks are found throughout the U.S., but most commonly seen in warmer states as well as warm climates throughout the world. Brown dog ticks are present in California. 

If you come in close contact with dogs, it is possible you can catch fleas - and possibly ticks, too. As it's a "dog" tick, dogs are their main target, but they are common anyplace in the home that is warm and dry where dogs live in.

Brown dog tick food source

Dog ticks feed on blood, primarily the blood of dogs but they will feed on humans and other mammals. They produce a sticky substance to help them remain attached to their host for feeding purposes.

Brown dog tick life cycle

A life of gorging and molting. This is how brown dog tick larvae develop. As most everything happens with a meal of blood, females feed and then drop off the host dog to lay eggs, after which her life is deemed complete, and she dies. Usually she crawls upward to wall or ceiling crevices or cracks, laying her 1,000-3,000 tiny dark brown eggs, which look a lot like caviar. 

Eggs hatch after 9-60 days into tiny larvae with 6 legs, called "seed ticks". The seed ticks they crawl down the wall and attach themselves to a dog so they can feed, although they can last 8 months without feeding. The larvae will engorge for 3-6 days and enlarge to 1/6 inches (2mm) and become blue. 

After the meal, the seed ticks head off to find a spot to molt, and then repeat this process. By 1-3 weeks they are reddish-brown nymphs with 8 legs. Then they feed for 4-9 days, grow to 1/8 inch (3mm) and turn dark gray. Once again they go off to molt, becoming adults in 12-19 days. Adult brown dog ticks immediately seek a host dog, but can survive up to 18 months if unable.  

Once the fully grown pests find a good candidate, they feast for 6 to 50 days and mate – must be a taxing business. They may complete the cycle in 2 months, but there are usually 2 generations per year in the north, and 4 generations in the south.

Brown dog tick infestation

When the household dog isn't happy, neither is the household. Although they seldom attack humans, as we generally have less fur to cling to, they are carriers and transmitters of several disease organisms. 

All brown dog ticks need is to move upward to find a host dog.

How to get rid of brown dog ticks

In order to successfully get rid of brown dog ticks, concentrate your efforts on areas your dog spends most of its time. Treatment should focus on dog's resting places, upholstered furnishings, cracks and crevices, under porches, and any possible crawl spaces the dog has access to. 

Thoroughly clean home and kennel areas before starting treatment, both indoors and outdoors. Also treat your dog on the same day as this pesticide application. As treatment is extensive and specific application equipment is necessary, it is highly recommended to use a professional exterminator. Inside treatment should focus on areas up to 4 feet and be concentrated around where your pet spends time. Exterior treatment should include walks, shrubbery and lawns. 

Continue to monitor your pet after treatment, especially if it goes into other areas that may possibly be infested. For your own protection, use repellent, wear light-colored clothing, and frequently inspect tick-infested habitats.

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