Natural Tick Control
Ticks are small spider-like creatures that feed on blood. The most common ticks found on UK cats and dogs continues to be (approx 90% according to a 2016 study)...Ixodes ricinus, aka the castor bean tick, sheep tick or black-legged deer tick. This, like Ixodes hexagonus (found in about 10% UK cats and dogs) is widely distributed throughout the UK. Although they are both commonly associated with woodland and healthland habitats, they can also be found in urban parks. Ixodes canisuga instead, is associated with boarding kennel environments. In the same 2016 survey, some examples of ticks Dermacentor and Rhipicephalus were found on some dogs- mostly with a history of recent travel abroad.
Ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease (Borreliosis in animals) and more rarely Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in people and Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis in animals.
Their lifecycle passes through the phases of egg, larva, nymph and adult, with a blood meal necessary to transition between stages. So 3 hosts are usually necessary for the cycle to complete. The cycle typically take 3 years, but can complete quicker if suitable conditions and enough suitable host animals are present.
4-8 weeks after mating, the adult female will lay up to 2000 eggs. These hatch 8 weeks later into 6 legged larva. These then seek a small mammal or bird host for a blood meal and then develop into 8 legged nymphs which will seek out or 'quest' for a host (sheep, dog, people, foxes etc) the following spring. The nymphs are mostly associated with disease transmission as they are small, and so often are able to feed without being detected and groomed/detached. Once they have fed, they develop into adults which will quest for their host (deer, sheep, cattle, people, dogs) in autumn or the following spring.