There are about a thousand species in the world, they are all blood-drinking parasites. They live in the lower parts of forests and other wooded areas
Ticks, there are about a thousand species in the world, they are all blood-drinking parasites. They live in the lower parts of forests and other wooded areas. They attack humans and animals, spreading life-threatening diseases. The main tick-borne diseases are Lyme disease, babesiosis and tick-borne encephalitis. Let’s look at the bite mechanism and tick removal rules.
Period and stages of tick development
After hatching, the tick develops in about two to four years in three stages:
Larva – measures less than a millimeter. Its shape resembles an adult. It lives in grass, forest litter and low plants, where it waits for its host. After attaching to it, it feeds for 2 to 5 days, after which it falls off and turns into another form – a nymph.
Nymph – has a size of 0.5 to 1 millimeter. It lives in the same environment as the larva and similarly awaits the host. After binding, the blood takes 3 to 6 days, then falls off and transforms into an adult.
Adult figure (imago) – the largest. An adult male measures up to about 2.5 millimeters and takes relatively little blood from the host. The female grows to about 5 mm in length. He has a chitinous belly only in the upper part, while the lower part remains soft, which allows him to stretch strongly after taking a significant amount of food (even up to 1.5 centimeters).
One female can lay up to 3,000 eggs. If the larva, and then the nymph, feeds in the spring and early summer (May – June), then in the same year they transform into an adult. However, the above stages of development can occur at different times. Ticks have the ability to stay stiff for months without consuming food.
Ticks hibernate in the nymphal phase, although they can hibernate in the larva or adult form. They are buried in the ground for the winter. The warmer the climate, the shorter it takes for the tick to fully develop.
How does a tick attack?
The tick locates its prey based on the stimuli it sends, including:
Breathing – causes a local increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air, which the tick correctly records
Smell – every animal and man gives off a specific smell, sensitive to ticks
Vibrations – taking steps, noise, body movements
Body temperature – a tick reacts to the heat given off by its potential victim.
The most aggressive form of ticks is the nymph, and it represents the greatest risk of infection with Lyme disease, babesiosis and tick-borne encephalitis. It is also the most resistant to weather conditions and lack of food, which is why individuals who survive the winter are mostly nymphal forms.
Once they find prey, the tick usually looks for the thinnest and least hairy skin, although it can stick anywhere. In animals, the most commonly attacked areas are around the eyes and earlobes, as well as the lower part of the abdomen. In humans, and especially in children, they like to be attached to the knee or elbow joint, the armpit area. Finding a suitable place, the parasite grabs the skin fold with its front legs, and then keeps it small, and releases the substance from the mouth, which performs anesthesia at the place of diving.
An adult individual is easy to find. It is much more difficult to locate a nymph and a larva. Therefore, after returning from the forest, you must carefully examine the whole body and shake the clothes over the terrace. It is best to do this immediately upon arrival home, then the chance that the tick will not be able to penetrate the skin is much higher.
The most popular ways to remove ticks
You can find many tips on removing ticks online. However, not everyone is safe, and some are not even recommended. Removing ticks is not particularly complicated, but you must keep in mind not to use the following methods:
Extraction – it is dangerous due to the fact that it remains quite firm in the skin. After withdrawal, it may turn out that the head remains in the body. If a dark hair-like formation remains after extraction, it is the front leg of the tick, located just behind the head
Twisting – can be exactly the same as pulling. The delicate structure that connects the head of the parasite to the body is easily separated. Do not twist the tick as it may turn out to leave the head or foot.
Watering or lubrication – with alcohol, petrol, nail polish or nail polish remover, soap, grease, paraffin, etc.
Burning – meaningless as well as very dangerous, both in adults and in children and animals. It will kill ticks, but the head will remain in the skin, and dog or cat hair can become inflamed.
Squeezing the stomach – it can lead to its rupture and death of the parasite, which, however, will remain in the skin and then you have to perform a mechanical removal of the tick.
The above methods can lead to the parts of the dead tick remaining invisible in the body and, consequently, to local infection, which can result in surgical intervention. Remember that the tick’s head is the greatest danger and remains in the skin.
How to safely and safely remove ticks?
There are various more or less effective tick extraction tools on the market. They are not expensive, they cost from a few to several tens of euros. The simplest of these is tweezers. The tweezers must have straight tips. However, it is a tool that will be used by people who have mastered pulling ticks, and in addition, it does not always work well with small ticks.
Syringe – so popularly called tweezers, similar to an injection syringe. It works like a vacuum suction pump, allowing both the tick to be removed and its toxins to be sucked out. How to remove ticks? The tool rests a hole in the tick, presses on the skin and pulls the plunger towards itself. Unfortunately, it is ineffective if the tick is in places that prevent the creation of a vacuum (bending of limbs, hairy skin, etc.).
The relatively new tick removal kit on the market also works well. It consists of a tick remover and a spray designed to freeze parasites. Freezing prevents infection during the extraction of ticks, and also inhibits the secretion of saliva, which may contain pathogenic microorganisms. The kit contains instructions on how to remove ticks.