Every year, the same questions come up.  Will this year be a bad year for ticks?  Should I be concerned about ticks in my home and yard?  Questions like these are understandable when you understand how dangerous these insects have become.  And here in Oklahoma, we have a bunch of them.  Can ticks survive in winter? Ticks do survive the winter in Oklahoma.  Their survival depends on the weather, stage in their lifecycle, host availably and other factors. 

All insects must have a way of surviving winter when they are found in climates that can have a cold winter.  Ticks are no exception.  These insects will either overwinter on a host, or find a warm place to go dormant until warmer weather occurs.  The weather that can cut down their populations are when it gets warm in the winter, and then quickly cold again.  This convinces young ticks to come out of hibernation.  Since it cools off so quickly, they can’t get back to hibernation before they freeze to death. 

LIFECYCLE

Ticks are arachnids.  They have more in common with spiders than bugs.  This also means that they have an incomplete metamorphosis.  They hatch from their egg as a larva, grow into a nymph and then finally as a reproductive adult, and then lay eggs to start the process again.  Each stage of the lifecycle requires a blood meal.  Avoid these blood meals by finding a good Tulsa exterminator to help. 

Ticks are categorized by two methods.  There are soft and hard ticks.  This refers to their outer shell.  Soft ticks resemble raisins that fill up as the feed.  They can feed in an hour or less.  Hard ticks have a hard outer shell.  They can take weeks to fully feed.  Ticks are also categorized by being a one, two or three host tick.  A one host tick has only one host in its entire lifetime.  A three host tick will have a host at the larva stage, then fall off, then another at nymph and finally another at adult.  The two host tick will have the same host for the larva and nymph stages. 


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Tick Name Number of Hosts Type Common Hosts Transmittable Diseases Time of Most Activity
Fowl Tick Multi Soft Birds, Humans West Nile, Avian Tick Disease Late Spring Through Summer
Spinose Ear Tick Two (Adult is Nonparasitic) Soft Cattle, Horses, Humans Irritation, Inflammation, Deafness Late Spring Through Summer
Black Legged Tick Three Hard Rodents, Canine, Deer, Humans Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis September Until April
Winter Tick One Hard Deer, Cattle, Horses, Elk Anaplasmosis, Anemia Winter Months
Lone Star Tick Three Hard Cattle, Wildlife, Humans monocytic ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia chaffeensis), southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), canine granulocytic ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis), tularemia (Francisella tularensis), Heartland virus, and a spotted-fever type of disease (Rickettsia amblyommii is suspected to be the cause) Early Spring to Late Fall
Brown Dog Tick Three Hard Dogs, Humans Anaplasma platys, Babesia canis, Babesia gibsoni, Ehrlichia canis, Hepatozoon canis and Rickettsia rickettsii. Late Spring Through Summer
Golf Coast Tick Three Hard Birds, Cattle, dogs, horses, sheep, deer, coyotes and humans Hepatozoon americanum, Rickettsia parkeri Late Spring Through Summer
American Dog Tick Three Hard Dogs and Other Small Animals, Humans Rocky Mountain spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Tick Paralysis Late Spring Through Summer

SOFT TICKS IN OKLAHOMA

In Oklahoma, we have predominantly two soft ticks.  These ticks are the fowl tick and the spinose ear tick.  The Fowl tick is a large problem for poultry producers.  It spreads many diseases to chickens and other birds that greatly reduce egg production and can cause sickness or even death in fowl.  They can also feed off of humans.  Call your local Oklahoma exterminator for more information. 

The spinose ear tick is common in cattle, horses and other animals.  This tick will bite its host inside of its ear.  Only in the nymph and larva stage does it need a blood meal.  When large numbers of ticks are found in the ear canal of an animal, severe irritation or even deafness can occur.  This can also cause secondary infections and a floppy eared condition thatch cause discomfort when moving the head. 

HARD TICKS IN OKLAHOMA

There are many more hard ticks than soft ones in Oklahoma.  The black legged tick, the winter tick, the American dog tick, the brown dog tick, the lone star tick and the gulf coast tick are all found here in Oklahoma.  Most of these ticks can find their way onto pets, cattle and horses, deer, rodents and people.  The diseases found in hard ticks are much more severe and life threatening than the ones found in soft ticks. 

Ticks spend most of their time off of their host.  It takes time for the right one to pass by a dormant tick larva, nymph or adult.  When a tick is trying to find a host, it will climb to the top of a blade of grass, or other object, grab on to the object with its rear six legs, and then hold its front two legs up.  On the front legs are two Haller’s organs.  These organs can sense heat and carbon dioxide, telling a tick when a host is near.  Then, when the host brushes up against the tick, it latches on. 

HEALTH ISSUES

There are many dangerous diseases associated and transmitted by ticks.  Rocky Mountain Fever is transmitted almost exclusively by the American dog tick.  Many bacteria based diseases such as babesiosis and ehrlickiosis are transmitted by the tick.  The dreaded Lyme disease is an all too common killer.  Heartland virus is commonly transmitted by the lone star tick.  It’s very important to be wary of ticks, and take appropriate precautions.  Contact your Tulsa pest control company for help taking these precautions. 

Tick paralysis is the only tick born disease that isn’t caused by a virus or bacteria.  It is caused by a toxin in the saliva of the tick.  Scientists are unsure if it is directly caused by the toxin or an allergy to the toxin.  This can be very dangerous because it can cause respiratory paralysis, which can result in death.  The quickest way to stop this is to remove the tick.  The paralysis will subside in anywhere from a few hours to a week. 

HOW TO KEEP TICKS AWAY

It’s very important to protect yourself and your loved ones from ticks and their bites.  When walking through high tick areas such as forests or tall grass, its important to have on the appropriate clothing.  Long pants and long sleeve shirts are a must.  A good insect repellant, such as DEET, does a lot to keep them away.  Applying pesticides can also remove tick populations from the area. 

It’s in this case, that you should call upon an experienced Oklahoma pest control company for help.  Here at TermMax Pest Control, our technicians are trained to eliminate ticks safely and quickly.  We service the greater Tulsa area including Broken Arrow, Owasso, Bixby, Jenks, Sand Springs, Pratville, Sapulpa, Catoosa, Claremore, Coweta, Turley and more.  Call us today for a free estimate.  We’re here to help!

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