What You Should Know About Ticks

Ticks, like fleas, are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of a host animal. They transmit a variety of diseases, the most well known is Lyme’s Disease. Since the habits of the tick are much like that of the flea, a lot of what you read about ticks on this site will apply to the flea and vice versa.
Many ticks, such as the deer tick, the brown dog tick, the groundhog tick and the bat tick are named for the host on which they are most commonly found. They are however, capable of feeding on just about any mammal and will take advantage of the food supply that is most readily available. Raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, bats, mice, possums and skunks are all known to host several species of ticks. These animals and others, including the family dog or cat are the main transporters of ticks from the wild to our domestic environment.
Rabbits, skunks or other creatures will come in contact with the tick in a wooded area or open field and then carry it onto your property. The tick will attach itself to an unsuspecting pet which will bring the parasite into your living space where it will drop its eggs. The eggs hatch into nymphs, they grow up and lay more eggs and the cycle continues, resulting in an infestation.
Even if your pet is kept indoors ticks can enter your attic or crawl space attached to hosts such as bats, squirrels, mice and, raccoons. After the invading wildlife is discovered and removed the tick may be left behind to forage for an alternate food source. This is when it may gain entrance to the living area. So if your home, attic or crawl space has recently harbored a woodland invader don’t be surprised if you soon experience a tick infestation.
Engorged female ticks are capable of laying thousands of eggs that can survive in bedding, carpets and furniture for more than a year; once it hatches the nymph can then go without food for just as long.
Because their life cycle involves long periods of survival without feeding, and since eggs may not hatch for some time after an initial treatment,
the tick presents a unique problem for the person attempting to rid a home of an infestation. A job well done will require professional knowledge and expertise. A flea or tick infestation will often demand multiple treatments with a variety of specifically designed chemicals applied in several areas of the home, around the property and (under veterinary supervision) on the pet.
There are many over the counter products available to the home owner who may want to take a stab at conquering a tick or flea infestation on his own, but since the purchase and application of these products does not require licensing they are often watered down. The trace amounts of chemical contained in these over the counter products are ineffective on large numbers of adults and on eggs.
Since most people do not have extensive knowledge of the habits of the flea and tick, or their host animals, a layman’s efforts often innocently ignore essential steps in the treatment process. This can cost the home-owner money and wasted effort and will allow time for the parasites to continue breeding. In the long run an attempt by the non-professional to conquer a flea or tick infestation may only increase the severity of the infestation and add to the frustration of the home-owner.
The complexity of a tick or flea infestation, the timing of the life cycle, and the variety of ways in which the parasite can invade and then survive undetected in so many areas of the home, makes it especially important that you inform us as soon as you suspect your home, property or pet is vulnerable to fleas or ticks. A tick or flea infestation is most effectively irradiated before the parasite has the opportunity to thrive in numbers.
Excerpted from:   http://www.ehow.com/