Tick FYIs: life cycle and tips for control
By Chris Keefer, Ph.D., technical services manager, Professional Pest Management, Syngenta
Ticks are more than just nuisance pests: they can be a detriment to human and pet health, and they are known vectors for illnesses like Lyme disease. To provide your customers peace of mind, it’s important to understand tick biology and how best to control them.
Ticks undergo an incomplete metamorphosis, meaning, the tick hatches from an egg and then goes through several nymphal stages before molting into an adult form. Depending on temperature and food sources, a tick can take three to four weeks, several months or years to develop into an adult. An adult tick can live for as many as 18 months and, depending on the species, a female tick can lay between 20-10,000 eggs in her lifetime.
Before beginning a tick treatment, make homeowners aware of the following pre-treatment steps and enlist their compliance where applicable:
- Remove all items from the floor to maximize the treatment area, and clean all floor surfaces so they’re dry at the time of treatment
- Vacuum all carpets, rugs and furniture, and dispose of the vacuum bag offsite to prevent a potential tick resurgence
- Wash all pet bedding and human bed linens, and dry them on a hot setting
- Remove all household animals, such as fish, reptiles, cats and dogs
- Bathe dogs and cats and have a veterinarian treat them for ticks
You should also explain the tick life cycle and treatment expectations to customers. For example, it’s common to have a few ticks for up to two to three weeks after treatment because of their life cycle timing.
- Mow, pick up and clear the yard of all children and animal toys
- Clean and remove pet food, water bowls and sleeping areas from the yard
- Identify tick harborage areas prior to treatment
For the best treatment results, use a residual contact insecticide that will control adults and nymphs. Demand® CS insecticide with iCAP technology™ is effective against ticks and is recommended in a treatment protocol offering up to 90 days of control as part of the SecureChoice℠ Tick Assurance Program (exterior only). When using Demand CS, apply sufficient volume to move the finished solution into the deep thatch of turf where ticks may be waiting for a host. It is also critical to treat vegetation up to 3 ft. high where ticks may be questing.
With proper education and knowledge of control efforts, you can provide your customers extended control of ticks. For more information, visit SyngentaPMP.com/Tick or contact your local Syngenta territory manager.
Bennett, G. W., J. M. Owens, and R. M. Corrigan. 1997. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Control Operations. Advanstar Communications Inc., Cleveland, OH.
Mallis, A. 1990. Handbook of Pest Control. Franzak and Foster Co., Cleveland, OH.
©2020 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. Demand®, For Life Uninterrupted™, SecureChoice℠, with iCAP technology™ and the Syngenta logo are trademarks or service marks of a Syngenta Group Company. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).