This is one of my grossest posts yet but it’s tick season and I’m sick of having to pull engorged vampire insects off my dogs so I read up on them to figure out how to combat them and I figured I’d pass on everything I learned to you.
My first question was, why do they even exist??? Like, they seem like some dumb blind bug that waits for something warm to wander by and then latches on and sucks their blood until they’re full and then they explode and die or something. So what’s the point of their existence?
It turns out that ticks live for three fricking years! And they are arachnids! They usually hatch from eggs as larva near an entrance to a rodent’s den like a rabbit or a mouse. As larva they latch onto the rodent, suck their blood and then fall off. After that they enter the nymph stage, which sounds beautiful and fairy like but it just means they are like a tiny baby tick. If the nymph is lucky it’ll grab onto another animal and suck its blood till it falls off and then it will molt into a full grown asshole tick.
So here’s the extra gross part. The full grown tick that ends up sucking blood is usually the female but sometimes there’s a tiny male tick attached to her, ready to inseminate her. Once she is filled up with my dog’s blood she falls off, lays her eggs and dies. Bye Felicia!
So what is the point? Since I know nature doesn’t do anything by accident I researched how they contribute to earth, if at all. Well, they do. Birds and snakes and lizards love their bloody goodness. Also, they help manage the ecosystem by helping to control animal populations like deer by spreading their filthy diseases like Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia.
Scientists study tick populations to see how populations of other animals are doing and if they are becoming endangered or not. For instance, snakes eat a bunch of ticks so if tick populations suddenly rise in an area known for snakes, scientists know that the snake population is decreasing.
So there you go, ticks do have a purpose besides crawling in my hair right as I’m about to go to sleep, they spread disease!
Here’s two hot tips to keep ticks off our dog so that this essay isn’t a total bummer. I have found a natural spray that has kept them off my girls like magic! This isn’t a paid ad or anything, I just found it at my local healthy market and I’m excited about it. It’s called Wondercide and it’s all natural, made of natural oils. I spray a light coat on the girls right as they are about to be out in nature and it’s really been working. Also, their spray bottle works really well. Stick with the peppermint flavor though because I find the cedarwood flavor to be a bit overwhelming in the car ride home plus when I use the peppermint one I can nickname Jasmine “Peppermint Patty” which is soooooo cute!
Then, after I get back from a walk in nature with the girls, right before I put them in the truck, I grab a type of brush that comes with a dustpan and I brush them vigorously. I brush them back and forth really fast in the direction of their fur and the opposite direction that their fur grows. This flings off any ticks and or exposes them in the fur so you can grab them. Hope this helps!
Happy Summering everyone!