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Although some smaller types of ticks are referred to as seed ticks, the term generally refers to the stage in a tick's development before it becomes an adult. A tick has a number of development stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Those in the nymph stage can also be referred to as seed ticks, since many people say that these tiny arachnids often resemble seeds. In this form, they are very small, often the size of a pinhead or smaller.
The danger in ticks in this stage usually lies in their numbers. Where there is one there are usually hundreds, if not thousands of others. Because seed ticks tend to congregate in the same area, they tend to find the same hosts, so someone who notices one nymph may find many others.
Though all ticks can carry disease, seed ticks, because they are somewhat younger, may not carry quite as many harmful viruses. This should not be misinterpreted as a reason to not take them seriously, however. All ticks have the ability to carry disease such as Lyme disease and rocky mountain fever.
Most of these immature ticks do not have the ability to tightly cling onto a host, so removing them is often easier than with adult ticks. In some cases, it can simply be done by placing packaging tape over the affected area and lifting it off, as the ticks usually stick to the tape. For animals, using a medication designed to kill ticks usually works very well.
Pet owners who find that they have a pet affected by seed ticks should treat both the animal and the entire house, or at least areas where the pet has access, with some type of insecticide. These young ticks are numerous and may not always stay on a host, so they can easily wander around a home in areas where a pet has been. Without treatment, it is possible a homeowner will find himself continually having a problem with the small bugs.
As with any bug bite, the bite of seed ticks should be closely monitored for any infections. Ticks may cause red itchy bumps on the skin where they bite. If these do not go away after few days, or if the person bitten develops an illness shortly thereafter, he should seek medical treatment.
How To Get Rid of Seed Ticks
One of the best ways to ensure your pet doesn’t get bit by a tick is to get the arachnids out of your yard and home. While the thought of ridding your home of tiny pests may feel overwhelming, there are steps you can take to eliminate thousands at a time.
Around Your Yard
Seed ticks flourish during the warm summer months from July through September. Most of the time, the bugs rest on grass blades, leaves and other low-lying bushes. The best way to make your yard less desirable for ticks is by maintaining your vegetation. Cutting the grass weekly to prevent overgrowth, trimming back large bushes and disposing of piles of leaf litter eliminates the areas pests are most likely to be found.
If you continue to find ticks on your pets, consider creating an enclosed space that keeps them away from the vegetation. This way, they can enjoy their time outside without you worrying about them being bitten.
After trying these suggestions, if ticks remain a problem in your yard, consider spraying a pesticide around your landscaping. Solutions containing bifenthrin are effective but may also keep away honey bees and ladybugs, so look for a treatment made with cedar essential oils if you enjoy gardening.
Inside Your House
Sometimes no matter how hard you work at ridding your yard of ticks, they still find their way into your home. If your dog brings them inside, you may not notice the bugs right away, giving them time to jump or be rubbed off your pet’s fur and migrate around your home.
The most effective and immediate way to eliminate ticks inside your house is to spray a plant-based insecticide in each room. Additionally, you can use a natural bug repellant called diatomaceous earth, a fine white powder made from shells of sea creatures. This product is ideal for sprinkling around baseboards and window panes. If you notice ticks in your bedding, wash all affected fabrics in hot water and tumble them in the dryer. It only takes 10 minutes on high heat to kill the arachnids.
How To Remove Seed Ticks When They Are Attached to Your Dog’s Skin
When you find hundred of seed ticks on your dog, it is likely that a few may have penetrated your pet’s skin. There are a few critical do’s and don’ts to follow when removing the bugs.
Do’s of Removing Ticks
- Do use tweezers to gently grasp the tick as close to the surface of your pet's skin as possible.
- Do pull the pest straight out.
- Do wear latex gloves to grab the bug if you don’t have tweezers.
- Do wash your dog’s skin with soap and water after removing the tick and follow up with an antiseptic cream to promote healing.
Don’t of Removing Ticks
- Don’t put a burnt match or vaseline on the tick.
- Don’t twist the arachnid when you pull it out.
- Don’t grab the tick by the body, as fluid may get squeezed out.
Contact your local vet if you have trouble removing the tick or if the bite area becomes inflamed or infected.
How To Kill Seed Ticks on Dogs
Continued infestations on your dog can be treated or prevented with products that kill ticks and other pests. Many of these items are available from your vet or at your local pet store.
One of the fastest ways to kill ticks on your dog is to wash them with a medicated shampoo. These soaps usually kill on contact, so bathing dogs after they've been out in the wilderness is an excellent way to prevent any ticks from burrowing in their fur or spreading around your home. If you don’t have medicated dog shampoo, dish soap also can kill ticks on contact.
Oral medications designed to kill fleas and ticks are a great option if you find yourself outside with Fido all the time. These medications are not harmful to your dog and work by causing a chemical build-up right under your pet’s skin. If an insect bites, it ingests the medically treated fluid and consequently dies.
If your dog is sensitive to certain foods, an oral medication may be difficult to keep down. Ointments are an excellent option for these pets, and many vets feel they do an even better job at keeping ticks away. Since the medication is spread over the top of the pet's skin, it repels most insects before they try to take a bite. If a pet is bitten, the medication affects the insect’s nervous system, and it dies.