TICK INFORMATION FOR THE AREA AROUND BUNDABERG
The tick is a parasite of mammals and has a complicated and varied life cycle. The engorged female tick develops eggs inside her abdomen and when she is ready she will drop off the host animal and lay her eggs on leaf litter or in a mulch area and then she dies. The larvae hatch out of the egg and develop 6 legs after the eggs have incubated for around 42 – 56 days. Now the larvae must have a blood meal before it can moult to the next stage. The larvae climbs the nearest vegetation (grass or weeds) and latches onto some a passing host animal. They larvae do not climb more than 50 cm and do not “fall out of trees”.
If a host is found then the larvae will feed for 4 – 5days and then drop back onto the ground. Then it will moult into a 8 legged nymph stage. Once again the nymph stage must find a host to such blood from before it can moult into an adult. Again the nymph will suck blood from the host for around 7 days before dropping off to be become an adult.
It is the female adult who sucks the blood from a host – the male adult usually does not feed from the host but may actually feed from the female by penetrating her outer covering.
The entire cycle and involve 4 stages and 3 hosts. It can take approximately a year to complete. It is only the adult who is poisonous if we are discussing the “paralysis tick” and it is the female who is dangerous.
In this area the majority of ticks are Brown Dog Ticks, Cattle Tick or Kangaroo Ticks. There has been a low incident of the deadly Paralysis (or “scrub tick”) Tick (Ixodes holocylcus) in our area, we recommend that owners be diligent with checking there animals for ticks.
For the majority of tick infestations the following information applies:
- It is common that one yard in a neighbourhood will become infested – all the surrounding yards will have no ticks or low numbers of ticks. This is because the area as a whole is not a good breeding ground for ticks and only individual yards will allow habitation to occur.
- When you finally get on top of your tick problem – it is reasonable to assume that you will not have further problems from ticks in the next year or so. This is not always true and you should remain diligent to any further problem.
- As a general rule the normal tick found in this area causes no problem with the household pet. This does not mean that you should tolerate ticks on your animal but the ticks that are there are not life threatening.
- Most ticks are found on dogs but cats can get them. They are usually found around the head and neck area. It is important that you should check in the ears and especially in the skin folds of the ears. Another area that needs to be checked is between the toes.
- Once a tick has been discovered it is important to remove it from the animal as soon as possible. If by any chance you have disturbed the scrub tick it will start to secrete toxin straight away.
- It is an “Old Wives Tale” that you must remove the head of the tick or it can poison the animal. There is only one poisonous tick and in that tick the poison glands are in the body not the head.
- We find the best way to remove a tick is purely to just pull it off. Some people are happier to spray the tick with a knock down fly spray such as Mortein. This will kill the tick in approx. 30 minutes and then it can be removed manually.
- Never under any circumstance use Methylated Spirits to kill the tick on the animal – this will definitely cause to poisonous Scrub tick to secrete all its toxin into the animal.
- The poisonous tick takes 5 days after getting onto the animal before it secretes its poison – if you are concerned that you may have the Scrub tick in your area then you should check the animal twice a day for ticks. At no stage should you depend on chemicals to completely protect your animal.
To treat the animals to prevent and kill ticks – there are 3 ways that we recommend.
- Advantix – This is applied to the skin (in one spot) on the back of the neck. Can be used on dogs only not cats this product works for 2-3 weeks. We have found this product works well & recommend it in mild cases of tick infestation.
- Permoxin Rinse – This is applied to the animal twice a week for 4weeks. It is important that the animal is dry when applied & do not rinse off. This product cannot be used on cats.
- Frontline Spray and spot on – Will prevent ticks (most of them but we find it does not work on the Brown Dog Tick) for 2 weeks. But it is our recommendation that Frontline not be used as a primary tick preventer but be used to kill and prevent fleas. The effect on ticks is a bonus.
In our area we do not recommend that the average person apply a tickicide to their animals as a routine because of cost to the owner and because all tickicides can be poisonous to our environment.
We only recommend that action be taken against ticks once the owner is aware that they have a problem.
We certainly do recommend that any owner who is uncertain of the action to take against ticks or wants more information concerning ticks – to contact us. If you are not sure of the tick that you have found – please bring it in for identification.