Ticks are not bugs, but are members of mite’s order, to the class of arachnid; are relatives of spiders and are arthropods (invertebrates, the body formed of main parts movable and articulated, with legs, antennae, and gape).

Like fleas, Ticks are external pests that, depending on species, attack mammals, birds, reptiles and also human being.

There are about 850 species of Ticks recognizable by different characteristics, but are all haematophagous pests (they feed on blood) and are ectoparasites (external pests).

Thanks to the “Haller’s organ” placed in the first pair of legs, the fully-grown Tick as the maggots and the nymphs, feel the heat, the twinkling and the carbon dioxide put out by the host and then hitch thanks to the same front legs.

The Tick hitch the host and than suck his blood inserting the head or beak under skin, tapping the skin with the first pair of forelimbs, that act also as a pair of scissors; it does not breathe in the blood as the mosquito, but take advantage of cardiovascular activity of the host.

Unlike the sting of a flea, the one of the Tick is painless through of an anesthetize substance into the saliva, it does not make itches and the host does not feel trouble, but unfortunately this attribute, makes the Tick more dangerous being an important carrier of diseases much heavier both for the animals and the human being.

The body of the Tick ordinarily has a diameter from 0,4 to 0,5 mm, after a meal of blood these dimensions increase considerably. They can suck an amount of blood up to 3-4 times their own weight; during the sucking the watery part of the blood is regurgitated, so the Tick become only the haematic part of the blood.

With the generic name of “Tick” are identified two big families:

  • ARGASIDI (soft Ticks). They parasite the birds and are divided into 2 types: argas and ornithodorus. Soft Ticks can be differed by the oral apparatus that is present in the bottom part of the body; both the male and the female of the soft Ticks are similar, they do not have the front shell; the female can lay eggs many times during her life. The life cycle of the soft Ticks can last many years, and the growth from maggot to fully-grown Tick pass through three stages of nymph; the passage from a stage to the subsequent needs ever the undertaking of at least one meal of blood and these Ticks are very voracious, in fact, they have a lot of quick and short meals and then leave the host. We can find this Tick waiting for the host into the holes, the nests of the birds and into the caves, anyway ever into sheltered places.
  • IXODIDI (hard Ticks). They parasite the mammalian and include 6 types: rhipicephalus, ixodes, dermacentor, boophilus, hyalomna, heamaphisali. This kind of Tick is an ectoparasite half durable, it stays tied to its host for at least many weeks, anchoring to the skin thanks to the secretion of a hardening substance, alike the concrete and the structures of the oral apparatus, endowed with hooks backward. The female and the male of the hard Tick have two particular differences: the male of the hard Tick is much more little and the chitin covers all the back surface forming in this way a complete shield, whereas into the female and into the maggots, the back shield is soft with a lot of creases that allow the slackening of the abdomen of the Tick into the eggs’ face and during the meal. The mating generally happens on the host and then the female of the hard Tick, after a long meal of blood that can lasts also a few days, falls down from the host and lay down a thousand of eggs on the ground or on the plants and then dies, whereas the male remains on the host. After the hatching of the eggs start the cycle from infant maggot to the fully-grown Tick characterized by three distinguished stages: 
    1. infant maggot: of dimensions equal to a pinhead and packed with three pair of legs
    2. nymph: with the same dimensions of the maggot with four pair of legs
    3. fully-grown Tick: without eating anything is a little bigger than the maggots and the nympha. For each development this kind of Tick needs only one meal, that can lasts a few days; after the meal of blood they fall down from the host for the next change. 
    For this kind of Tick the cycle lasts from 1 to 3 years according to the temperature: in the tropical areas the cycle lasts less than one year in the colder areas it lasts also over three years. The fully-grown Tick can stand without eating anything over one year, whereas the maggots and the nympha by the agreeable states and environment can last for a few months.


  • IXODES RICINUS: “Tick of the woods” is the Tick more dangerous for the human being, it is very small, dark and very difficult to see. It lives in the humid and shadowy areas, between the grass and the short plants, between the dry leaves, at the limits between grass and wood, into the shrubs, closeness of water and it is more resistant also in the conditions more unfavourable. The areas where we can be afraid of its presence are the hills and the mountains to a height of 1500 m.
  • RHIPICEPHALUS SANGUINEUS: hard Tick of the dog, the striking host but it is dangerous also for the human being. Those Ticks can be found in the zootechnick farming, and into the urban areas frequented by the dogs and can cause hard infestations in these areas, hardly they infest the houses.
  • XODES DAMMINI or “Ticks of the deer”: this Tick is also dangerous for the human being and pets and wild animals. It is a little like a pinhead, but it is the major villain of the transmission of Borrelliosi or “Lyme disease” caused by the bacterium and it is a more complex disease, that basically hits the rodents, excellent hosts of the Tick of the Deer. Every now and then it attacks rabbits, little wild mammalians, deers, dogs, cats, birds and the human being.


For all the kind of Ticks, the favourite place is distinguished by high dankness, and a bland temperature: in the rural areas they stalk into shrubs and scrubs, wild areas, grass courts. In the urban areas the Ticks find shelter in waiting of the host in the cracks of the walls and the Streets, the sidewalk; the growth of the Ticks happen above all in the urban areas object of dumps and slummy often frequented by strays.


The period of growth of Ticks starts with the awakening from hibernation at the beginning of springtime and it ends at late autumn.


The Ticks bear both as carrier and promoter in the transmission of diseases.

As carrier the Ticks transmit a lot of micro-organisms and between them there are virus, bacterium and Protozoa.

More important infected diseases carried:

  • Lyme disease
  • Relapsing fever from Ticks
  • Tularaemia
  • Meningoencephalitis by Ticks
  • Rickettsial disease
  • Ehrlichiosi

Almost all of these diseases, if diagnosticated and recognized at the beginning can be cure with an antibiotic therapy. Rarely and particularly in senior citizens and in children can be dangerous for life.


For the pest control of Ticks is needed above all a preventive action both for rural and inhabitated areas removing scrubs and every possible agreeable habitat for the Ticks maintaining the place clean, or realized periodically pest control intervents, particularly in parks where children play.

The places that need this kind of treatment from specialized personnel are the farmings and where usually live dogs.

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