What does it look like?
It is part of the spider or arachnid family. It has one body part. When it is in the larva stage it has 6 legs. When it is in the nymph stage it has 8 legs. Some ticks are as big as a pin head and some are about an inch long. Hard ticks have hard shields and look flat. Soft ticks have a soft shield and look like a raisin.They can be seen without a microscope.When a female is engorged with blood it's abdomen grows to many times it's normal size. There are two kinds of ticks, a hard tick and a soft tick. A hard tick has a hard shield on its body and is shaped like a flat seed.A soft ticks skeleton is leathery and it resembles a raisin.
Where does it live?
Ticks spend most of their time in or around the ground just waiting around for a host to attach to. Blacklegged ticks can live in shrubs to hide on pets like dogs and cats. They like the woods. Soft ticks can live in caves, cabins and on birds. Both of the ticks live in the United States.Even though they like dark damp places, they can live just about anywhere. Once a tick was under water for hours and survived. They sometimes cling to the top of fences or sides of buildings where they can sense the presence of a host. Most ticks like to climb to the top of a blade of grass too.
What does it eat?
Ticks feed on the blood of mammals, and some like to feed on birds and reptiles. A tick attaches itself to the skin of an animal and sucks blood. When ticks bite to obtain blood there is always a possibility of transmitting certain diseases like lyme disease,rocky mountain spotted fever and many others. Females need to feed to lay eggs. After engorging on blood from a host they drop to the ground. Some ticks only feed once but lay around 10,000 eggs. Other ticks feed several times and lay about 25 eggs after each meal.When ticks feed on diseased birds or land animals, they carry that disease to the next host they visit.
How does it defend itself?
What stages of metamorphosis does it go through?
There are four stages of life. Eggs are laid in the thousands after a female is engorged and drops from the host. The larva live in the grass and leaves not far from the ground. They have 6 legs. This can be the feeding stage too.The larva molt into nymph with 8 legs.It is about 1.5 mm long. When this stage is feeding it can cause itching on the host.When the larva is engorged it molts into the adult stage.It is about 3 mm long. Then they mate, find a host, feed, and females then lay eggs. Then it starts all over again.
What special behavior does it exhibit?
Ticks like to be around dark damp places. They only eat blood. When they are full they are engorged with blood. They will drop off the host when full.Most ticks spend their time on the ground, at the top of a blade of grass or leaf, on a fence, or sitting on the siding of a building just waiting for a host, person/dog/cat/bird, to come along. They can sense the heat of a host, or even the vibrations in the air if a host comes near. They can even spot shadows of a host as it passes by. They do not jump, fly, or even crawl very quick, but they are good climbers. We have to understand how they behave so we can find better ways of keeping them away from us and our pets.
How does this bug affect people?
This bug can make people sick if they don't look over themselves after being in high grass.
Ticks carry diseases that cause illness like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the most common yet it doesn't occur often. You can get a rash, have a seizure, or your heart can skip a beat.Most cases of lyme disease occur in the Northeastern part of the US.Only deer ticks carry the disease. Most people get the tick from their own backyards. People need to protect themselves when going into woody and grassy places. Spray with a repellent with a chemical called deet. Where light colored clothes so if one goes on you you can see it. Wear long sleeves and tuck your pants into your socks.