Ticks – How they transmit diseases and how can we prevent their bites?
Ticks have a two-year life cycle that begins in early spring when adult females lay their eggs on the ground. The eggs hatch as temperature rises. From summer to early autumn, the larva feeds on the blood of small animals (mice). These larvae can become infected with Borreliosis during feeding. Once they are infected, they will remain infected for the rest of their life, allowing it to transmit the disease to humans.
After the first feeding, the larvae become inactive and rest during the winter. During this time, the larva grows into a nymph.
The following spring, nymphs appear. These nymphs are responsible for most cases of Borreliosis in humans. In the fall, they turn into adults. Adults are located on tops of shrubs or high grass and climb on deer and other large mammals. Once the adult has selected a host, it feeds and later mates. After mating, the female tick lays eggs, and the cycle begins again.
Most of them go through four stages of life: an egg, a six-legged larva, an eight-legged nymph, and an adult. After hatching from eggs, they must drink blood at each stage to survive. Ticks can survive for up to three years to complete their full life cycle, and most will die because they will not find a host for their next feeding.
How do ticks find their hosts?
Ticks sense animal breath, body odor, body heat, moisture, and vibration. Some species may even recognize the shade. In addition, they know excatly where to wait for their prey. While waiting for the host, they hold the leaves and grass with a third and fourth pair of legs. Ticks cannot fly or jump, but they simply wait for proper moment to climb onto the host.
Some will attach quickly, while others will crawl around your body looking for places where the skin is thinner.
How do they spread diseases?
Ticks transmit pathogens through the feeding process. Depending on the type of tick and lifespan, preparation for feeding can take from 10 minutes to 2 hours.
They secrete small amounts of saliva with anesthetic properties so that an animal or person cannot feel the tick. Therefore, it can go unnoticed for longer period.
Ticks will slowly suck blood for a few days. If the host animal has a blood infection, ticks will ingest the pathogens through the blood.
Small amounts of saliva can enter the skin of the host during feeding. If it contains a pathogens, they can be transmitted to the host.
After feeding, most of the ticks will fall off and prepare for the next host. At the next feeding, they can transmit the disease to a new one.
Research have shown that there are some very useful natural essential oils which efficiently repel ticks:
- Lemon eucalyptus oil
- Green Mint oil
- Citronella oil
- Palmarosa oil
- Rosemary oil
You can find amazing blend of tick-repellent essential oils 👉 HERE.