Ticks are arachnids in the Acari subclass, more related to spiders than to insects. There are more than 850 species of ticks in the world. They feed on the blood of mammals and birds, and for a minority of them, on human blood.
Where do ticks live?
Ticks like warm and humid places such as undergrowth and tall grass in prairies, gardens, forest or urban parks. They are on the increase from spring to autumn and mainly active from 8am to 7pm.
Why do they bite?
The tick goes through three stages of development (larva, nymph and adult) and each requires a single blood meal to reach the next stage.
To feed on the blood, the tick bites the skin of animals (and more rarely humans) passing near it. It clings while secreting an anaesthetic, so that the sting is usually not noticed at the time. Once attached, the tick feasts on blood as it grows from 1 to 5 mm long on an empty stomach, until it reaches 30 mm after eating for several days. By sucking blood, ticks can both contract a disease from an infected animal and transmit an infectious agent to its host.
Why are they dangerous?
Contaminated while sucking blood, ticks can therefore transmit various viruses and bacteria responsible for several diseases, including meningoencephalitis and Lyme disease (or Lyme borreliosis) to humans. As these tick-borne diseases can lead to serious complications, it is important to protect yourself from ticks.
How to protect yourself from ticks?
The best way to protect yourself against ticks’ bites is to avoid their habitats, such as grasslands and undergrowth. However, nature and outdoor enthusiasts can protect themselves in several complementary ways:
- Wear closed shoes, leg covering clothing and tuck your pants legs into high socks. Use light colours to detect unwanted ticks.
- get vaccinated against tick-borne meningoencephalitis
- use topical repellents on the exposed areas of the body: PARA'KITO offers anti-tick solutions both in roll-on and spray.