Thailand’s warm climate, a garden, and mans best friend, I love them all. But so does one of the most detestable, disgusting little creatures I can think of. Yep, ticks love warm weather, gardens, and dogs, they also love to hide behind cupboards, in beds, and handy cracks and crevices in the house.
Our dog has been picking up ticks for a couple of years now, grooming and shampooing has kept the problem under some sort of control. But infestations in the house can and do occur, and it did, I noticed ticks strutting out from the X Box when I turned it on, ticks on the sofa, ticks crawling over my shoulder. And worst of all, my wife had to pull one of the disgusting little creatures out of our sons ear.
One morning my son stood at the bedroom door, called me, and pointed to his bed. The biggest, fattest tick I’ve ever seen (photo above) was casually meandering across the bed, no doubt, actually no doubt at all it was to off to find a hidey hole and lay a thousand eggs. I sometimes pretend to be a bit of a photographer, so suitably impressed with the giant tick, I saved it for a photo session so I could show the world how disgustingly vile these creatures are.
The next day, I got around to taking some photos of the tick, that’s when I realized it was off somewhere to lay a thousand or so eggs in the bedroom the day before. It was still laying eggs (photo above) when I went out with the camera, apparently they can lay a few thousand, depending on their size and how well they fed.
I assume it’s a Brown Dog Tick, despite this one not really being any shade of brown. They go through 4 phases during their life cycle, which are, egg, larvae, nymph, and finally adult.
As you can see, the ticks in this photo (above) bear little resemblance to the large female in the previous photos, except for the first one on the left which probably just reached adult stage. The rest appear to be in their ‘nymph’ stage, prior to reaching adult stage. Ticks feed on their host for 1 to 2 weeks during each phase of their life cycle, then they drop off, molt and grow. Depending on the stage of their life cycle they spend 5 days to 2 weeks developing to the next phase, then they must feed again to repeat the cycle until they become adults. Once they are adult they will feed for a week or 2, the female lays her eggs and dies soon after. It is said the male dies after mating, but some species can mate several times before dieing.
After a tick has dropped off it’s host to molt and grow, it can live for months, possibly even a year without food. Meaning ticks might live for 2 or 3 years, just waiting in a convenient corner of your house for their next meal to come along.
Ticks live year round in Thailand, there are no freezing winters to kill them off, therefore they are a persistent problem. If you have a dog, the chances are he’s going to bring ticks in to the house on a regular basis. De-ticking on a daily basis, shampooing, acquiring anti tick drops, or even regular anti tick injections can minimize your dogs tick problem. You can also buy pet safe pesticides for the house and garden, if the problem is serious you could use a professional pest control company. The chances are you will never completely eradicate the tick problem. Keeping the house clean, minimizing any cracks, crevices, or other areas which could harbor ticks is essential to stop ticks breeding in the house. Reducing unessential shrubbery, and keeping the grass cut short will help to reduce their numbers in the garden.