Ticks belong to the class Arachnida, along with spiders. They differ from spiders as their head is fused together with the body. Tick feed on blood and get their pest status from the fact that besides causing irritations from their bites, they also introduce toxins, which build up in the body of the host and can lead to local infections, sickness in some cases death.
Eggs are usually laid in moist areas in contact with ground. The eggs hatch into larvae which have six legs. They climb the foliage of plants, where they are picked up by animals’ brushing past. After feeding for about a week they drop to the ground where they moult and then reascend the vegetation as an adult with eight legs. A tick becomes attached to an animal by inserting its sharp mouthparts, which have backwards facing barbs, to ensure that it is held in place while it feeds. At the same time the tick injects a material from its salivary gland, which prevents the blood from coagulating. It is the anticoagulant that contains the toxins.
Ticks are present all year round but are mostly abundant during November and December. All ticks should be removed from pest as soon as possible, taking care to ensure the head doesn’t detach from the body as to cause a possible infection.
Paralysis tick is a large problem in Australia with many cats & dogs dying every year from the insect.