We have several species of ticks in Florida that attack dogs and on occasion will bite humans. The two species we are most likely to encounter are the American Dog Tick and the Brown Dog Tick. The American Dog Tick attacks both animals and humans, but rarely comes inside. The Brown Dog Tick seldom attacks humans, but is usually found where dogs are kept in or around the house.
Successful tick treatments should be precise and some degree of patience is necessary. The life cycle of the tick should be known in order to understand the recommended treatment plan.
An adult female gets on the host animal, bites and begins feeding and becomes engorged with blood. She then falls off and lays 1000 to 3000 eggs around baseboards, window and door casings, curtains and furniture, and along edges of rugs. Occasionally females may be seen climbing walls to lay eggs. The eggs will hatch in 3 to 8 weeks. The newly hatched ticks (seed ticks) are very small and may be seen crawling up walls. If a host is available they will take a blood meal, usually remaining attached for 1 week or less, then drop off. Then, they will hide for 1 to 3 weeks, and then they are ready for another blood meal. They again find a host, gorge themselves with blood and drop off, hide and become an adult in 2 to 4 weeks. They again gorge themselves with blood and lay eggs, now the life cycle begins once more. A tick may love 6 to 7 months without a meal.