In a typical house environment, unfed deer ticks aren't likely to survive 24 hours. Because they like high humidity, ticks on moist clothing in a hamper can survive 2-3 days. Ticks that have taken a blood meal may survive a bit longer.
Once hatched, these larvae can go without a host for up to 279 days. Once lone star ticks mature from larvae to nymph, they can go over a year – up to 476 days – without feeding, and fully mature adult lone star ticks can go without a blood meal for up to 430 days!
Although most ticks prefer the great outdoors, certain species can live and thrive indoors. The brown dog tick, for example, can cause high levels of infestation in homes, dog kennels, and other structures where dogs are present.
If you find ticks in the house, don't step on them—flush them. A tick's body is very hard and, despite your best efforts, could survive a stomping. A better option is to pick the bug up with a piece of toilet paper and flush it down the commode.
Steam cleaning carpets if you find ticks in the carpeting will get rid of the ticks as well as eliminating any larvae or eggs they have there. Vacuuming where pets sleep is also a good way to get rid of ticks.
By vacuuming carpets and upholstery, you will remove not only adult fleas but flea eggs as well. Vacuum extra diligently in pet areas like near their beds, crates or the cat tree where fleas and ticks are most likely to fall off your pet. Once vacuuming is completed, throw away the vacuum cleaner bag.
Ticks love your bed, your sheets, pillows, and blankets. It is a popular area to attach and feed on their human hosts. Plus, once they attach, they can stay attached to you for days without you even knowing they are there.
But, they'll lay eggs just about anywhere else; ticks have been found to lay eggs in coat linings, carpeting, furniture, outdoor leaf brush, and other warm, soft places inside or outside. Even though a tick is no more than 2mm in size, one tick can lay thousands of eggs.
See “What to Do with the Tick” below. Be aware though that if you found one unattached tick, there's a possibility that yet another tick may be crawling on your body searching for a choice feeding spot. Or one may have hitched a ride on your clothes or pet if you have one.
Ticks are most commonly brought inside on pets and outdoor clothing. If your dog or family members have been running through the woods or tall grass, or if you live in an area where ticks are a serious concern, check your pets (and humans!) after they come in from their outdoor adventures.
Ticks are prone to dessication, and so if it's dry, they hunker down below the leaf litter, where it's more moist, and re-hydrate and conserve energy. Research from the 80s suggests that adult and nymphal ticks were the most active during their study, which was from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m., but most active from 6 a.m. - noon.
Ticks tend to crawl “until they find a warm and cozy spot to attach,” she explained. “It is more common for ticks to be found attached behind knees, in groin areas, in armpits, behind ears. Dog ticks like the one in this article are commonly found attached to human heads.”
Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
Can ticks live indoors? Yes. If you have a pet that lives indoors and out, ticks can catch a ride into your home and stay there. Depending on the species, they may last for 24 hours or up to several days.
A female hard ticks lays her eggs one to two days after mating and eggs hatch in two weeks in warm conditions, but females in cold climates can delay egg-laying for months and the eggs can take three to four months to hatch.
Typically, ticks go into dormancy at temperatures below 35 degrees. Ticks can die in winter, but only when it gets very cold, like below 14 degrees. It's rare for it to get this cold in Virginia. So, ticks never truly go away.
Ticks hate the smell of lemon, orange, cinnamon, lavender, peppermint, and rose geranium so they'll avoid latching on to anything that smells of those items. Any of these or a combination can be used in DIY sprays or added to almond oil and rubbed on exposed skin.
After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
Beds, bed covers, bed sheets and other bedding related items are hiding and resting places for ticks. Ticks prefer these areas since they provide easy access to the human host. They can easily latch on to the body and hair from beds.
What Do Tick Eggs Look Like? Since a female tick is capable of laying thousands of eggs at once, these eggs are often easier to spot than the ticks themselves. They appear brownish-red in color and are translucent. A brood of eggs may look like miniature caviar.
Although rare, pests such as ticks, flies, and ants can also enter the EAC. It should be noted that ticks, as was the case of our patient, can release their larvae in the external ear canal. The EAC is an ideal place for ticks to suck blood or leave their larvae.