Ticks are most active in the spring and summer. They can be dangerous to both humans and animals alike due to their ability to spread deadly infections. Ticks are parasites, which means they survive and thrive by sucking resources from a host organism, frequently causing harm to the host.
There are numerous fallacies about ticks, particularly regarding their lifespan. According to some accounts, ticks can survive without a host for 24 hours or one whole day, while others claim they may survive for up to two years without sustenance. The truth is that both could be correct, but it depends on the circumstances, tick species, and stage of their lifecycle.
How Long Can Ticks Live Without A Host?
To survive, some tick species must eat immediately away. Others can survive without eating for extended periods. Ticks are a three-host species, which means they attach to a different host at each stage of their lifecycle – larvae, nymphs, and adults – and hence have variable survival rates depending on which phase of life they are in.
1. Blacklegged (Deer) Tick
When they are adult ticks, black-legged ticks are also known as deer ticks because they prefer white-tailed deer as hosts. When these ticks are larvae or at their newborn/infancy stage, they only feed once, usually from June to September.
Deer tick larvae often live less than a year if they do not feed during this time. Deer ticks feed as nymphs during the summer. If nymphs do not provide during their first season, they may be able to go two seasons without eating!
Deer ticks mature into full adults in the fall when they adhere to a host and stay there until spring. On the other hand, adult ticks can live for just under a year if they do not feed during that period!
2. American Dog Tick
The American dog tick has a longer lifespan than deer ticks! Unfed larvae have been known to live for up to 540 days, and unfed nymphs have lived for up to 584 days! Adult American dog ticks can last for up to 1,053 days without eating if they aren’t fed.
3. Brown Dog Tick
At any given time, adult female brown dog ticks lay 1,000-3,000 little dark brown eggs. These eggs may survive for up to eight months without food or water until they hatch into larvae. Brown dog ticks can go three months without attaching to a host during their nymph stage. Adult brown dog ticks adhere to a dog as quickly as possible to feed, but they can go up to 18 months without eating!
4. Lone Star Tick
Female lone star ticks lay between 3,000 and 5,000 eggs every day. These larvae can survive without a host for up to 279 days after hatching. Lone star ticks can survive up to 476 days without feeding once they progress from larvae to nymphs, while fully mature adult lone star ticks can go up to 430 days without a blood meal!
5. Rocky Mountain Wood Tick
Like the lone star tick, Rocky Mountain wood ticks lay 3,000-5,000 eggs at a time on average. The larvae normally cling to any nearby host once the eggs hatch, taking anywhere from 7 to 38 days.
They typically have 30 days to locate a host, but some can go up to 117 days without attaching! Rocky Mountain spotted fever can go for almost 300 days without eating once they molt into nymphs. They can survive without a host for even longer as adults — up to 600 days!
How Long Do Ticks Stay Alive?
Ticks have life stages and four stages of development: egg, six-legged larva, eight legs nymph, and adult. Ticks must have blood meals at every stage of their development after ticks lay eggs. Ticks that have many hosts can take up to three years to complete their life cycle, and the majority of them will die if they do not find a new host for their next meal.
The brown dog tick, for example, prefers to feed on the same host throughout its life cycle. Ticks are the food of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, among other things. At each stage of their lives, most ticks prefer to have a different host animal, as seen below:
Ticks of the Ixodes scapularis species have a two-year life cycle. They go through four phases of development during this time: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. To survive once the eggs hatch, the ticks require a blood meal at every stage.
Ticks that feed on mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are black-legged ticks. At each stage of their lives, ticks require a new host.
Ticks of the species Ixodes pacificus have a three-year life cycle. They go through four phases of development during this time: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. To survive once the eggs hatch, the ticks require a blood meal at every stage.
Ticks Find their Hosts in a Variety of Ways.
Ticks smell their hosts’ breath and body scents, as well as their body heat, moisture, and vibrations. Some creatures can even recognize a shadow. Ticks also select a waiting location by identifying well-traveled pathways.
Then they rest on the tips of grasses and plants, waiting for a host. Ticks cannot fly or jump. However, they can wait in a position known as “questing.” Ticks use their third and fourth pairs of legs to grip leaves and grass while hunting. They have the first pair of legs spread out before them, ready to climb onto the host.
When a host brushes past a tick’s hiding place, the tick swiftly gets on. Some ticks will attach immediately, while others may roam around looking for spots where the skin is weaker, such as the ear.
In A House, Where Do Ticks Lay Their Eggs?
Ticks live indoors-outdoor dogs and other pets. If they bring in adult ticks with a satisfying, days-long blood feast and then mate, the female will leave the host animal and produce millions of eggs simultaneously. Adult ticks that hitchhiked inside a pet and reproduced indoors are the major source of indoor tick infection.
Look for tick eggs along your baseboards, the edges of your rugs or the bottoms of your drapes, and around your windows and doors if you fear ticks have placed eggs inside your home. While individual tick eggs are small, they can be easily identified because they are placed in clusters of hundreds or thousands.
Look for little clusters of tiny black or brown globes that are sometimes translucent (tick eggs resemble caviar!). Ticks can lay so many eggs at once that the group can be as large as a quarter and apparent to the human eye.
What Is the Most Time A Tick May Stay On A Dog?
The adult tick feeds until it expands to 10 times its original size after finding a host. Females engorge, fall off, lay eggs, and die; males stay on the host for up to three years, engorging, mating, and repeating the cycle. Some species may live on your dog for three months, while others can live on your dog for three years.
Ticks on Clothing: How Long Do They Live?
Assume you’ve just returned home from a walk with your dog through some neighboring farms or woods. When you arrive inside, you remove your sweaty clothing and place them in the laundry hamper to be dealt with later.
You’ve unwittingly brought some tick hitchhikers home with you on your clothes, now sitting among your filthy laundry in the hamper, ready to be washed. How long do ticks survive on clothing in this scenario?
Fortunately, certain common tick species, such as black-legged ticks, can’t survive long indoors without a host. Many homes use air conditioners to regulate temperature, making the inside air too dry for these ticks to thrive. Like the lone star and the American dog, Ticks are unlikely to survive more than a few days indoors.
With Your Vacuum Cleaner, You May Get Rid of Ticks and Fleas
According to Ohio State University researchers, vacuuming alone can kill 96 percent of adult fleas and 100 percent of juvenile fleas. The lead researcher revealed that the fleas are killed by a mixture of suction blowers, brushes, and internal air currents.
He hypothesized that vacuuming damaged the fleas’ waxy outer covering, which keeps them hydrated. Flea and tick management with vacuuming is also recommended by researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. They feel that a vacuum cleaner is a homeowner’s hidden weapon in the fight against brown dog ticks.
Ticks will only survive a few days if your yard and home are clean and your indoor humidity levels are low.
Ticks and Disease Transmission
Ticks spread disease-causing bacteria through their eating behavior.
- Preparing to feed a tick might take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the species and stage of life. The tick bites the skin and slices into it when it discovers a feeding location.
- Following that, the tick inserts its feeding tube. During the meal, many species release a cement-like material that keeps them firmly bonded. Barbs on the feeding line can help hold the tick in place.
- Ticks can also exude small amounts of anesthetic saliva, making the animal or person unaware that the tick has attached itself. If the tick is hidden in a secluded area, it may go undetected.
- A tick will steadily drink blood for several days. The tick will absorb the germs with the blood if the host animal has a bloodborne infection.
- During the feeding process, little amounts of tick saliva may infiltrate the skin of the host animal. If the tick has a pathogen, the pathogen could be transmitted to the host animal in this manner.
- Most ticks will drop off after a feeding and prepare for the next stage of their existence. It can then transmit diseases to the next host at its next meal.
- Ticks carry Lyme disease, which is very harmful to one’s health.
Indeed, ticks may cause diseases and are dangerous to humans and animals, but they cannot live without hosts like any other living thing. We also provided some tips for you on how to get rid of them using a vacuum and information about how long ticks live without a host. We hope this article helps you.