Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Ah, spring.  The grass is greening up, trees are budding.  Hungry ticks lie in wait.

Ticks have four life cycles: egg, larval, nymph and adult.  They eat nothing but blood throughout their lives.  There are two general types of ticks: hard and soft.   Adult hard ticks look roughly like a sunflower seed.  They have a hard shell behind their mouth parts (mouth parts -as in- what looks like it's head.  As though ticks aren't creepy enough, they sort of don't have a head.)  Soft ticks resemble a raisin.  Hard ticks tend to feed on dogs and cats and people while soft ticks prefer birds and bats.

The usual scenario finds a tick waiting in the grass or on a shrub.  When a warm blooded animal passes close by, the tick climbs aboard.  Then the stowaway tick makes its way to a spot on that animal to settle in, bite into the skin, then hang there and eat.  It takes several days for a tick to eat it's fill.

Ticks are Arachnids.  Other members of the Arachid family are spiders, mites and scorpions.  These creatures, when full grown, have fours pair of legs and no antennae.  (Insects have three pair of legs and one pair of antennae.)


When you find a newly arrived tick on you or your dog you can remove it with the sticky side of a piece of tape. However, if the tick has been on the body for a while, it'll have dug it's fangs in, so you'll need to pull it off, ideally with tweezers, aiming close to the skin so as to get all of the tick off.

Now.  Kill it.

Less than one finger of alcohol does the job.  Teetotalers find soapy water works too.

Not only do ticks leave their unwilling host feeling an awful bodily violation, there's also a grim chance the tick will leave a disease behind.  Then there's the unpleasant paranoia that comes after one finds a tick on the body of oneself or a loved one.  Every smallish object from a pebble to a piece of lint becomes the specter of doom and defilement.

Then there's the formication.  You know, that ghastly tactile hallucination whereby one feels there is something crawling on the skin.

To paraphrase Waylon Jennings.  Are you ready for the country, are you ready for ticks?


  1. Sir Poops had a tick burrow in him once years ago. I dropped citronella oil on the sucker. It popped right out.

    1. Good to hear of another effective weapon against them!

  2. Pesky little blighters, aren't they?

    1. Pesky is too nice a word for these blighters!

  3. Long long time ago in a land far far away... when I was a child we always where checking our Dachshund, Heidie yes (not so interesting but it had a nice story behind the name anyways ) we were always checking for ticks.
    Love the idea of citronella oil. Shelly always has great natural ideas.
    I have read you have to get all the legs (?) out.
    Is Walter big enough ? I could see several ticks just carrying him away.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. By Walter, I think you mean Henry. Come to think of it, Walter is a nice name. Let's call him Henry Walter! Yes, I do worry that the little weirdo might be carried off by a horde of ticks....keeping a sharp eye...

  4. And ticks that have gotten their fill of blood are so hideous!