Ticks: details

Flea & Tick control compatibility chart for dogs
-- Doctors Foster and Smith

Articles, stories and conversations about ticks:
-- CDC life cycle of hard ticks

-- Stop ticks by treating your clothing with Permethrin

-- OFF! Botanicals claims to keep ticks away

-- MDC field guide about ticks
-- MDC tenacious ticks
-- MDC tick alert
-- Another MDC article about ticks

Member discusses ticks
Advice about preventive products
Frontline: how does it work

What time of year can you typically expect to see a tick?
In the South (TX, OK, GA, etc) there can be two tick seasons, starting with the first warm days of March. A decline normally occurs during the heat of the summer but ticks return again during late August and September. The North (PA, NY, WI) has a tick season from May to September. 

Where do ticks hide?
On verticle surfaces up to about three feet in height. Under trees and in the bark of trees, shrubs, tall grass and clinging to bits of vegetation hanging across or on side of a trail. In warm, damp, or moist areas of a yard. On fences, porches and wood piles.

The risk of infection increases according to the time the tick is attached... from the start of the "feeding" before a disease is transferred. --(source)

Why detaching ticks from dogs is so important?
Many flea and tick collars on the market today will kill a percentage of the ticks found on dogs. But approximately 50% of the dead ticks will remain attached to the dog. Improper removal of the tick can leave behind infectious mouth parts and fluids.

In Missouri the Lone star tick is reported to be one of the most aggressive ticks and actually will pursue a potential host a relatively long distance. The female of this species is easily identified by the white dot in the center of her back.

The American dog tick is found throughout most of the United States. Newly hatched larvae are yellow. Adults are brown. Blood-engorged females become slategray. --source

Wood tick removal tools

1) Tick KEY available at sporting goods shops and some pet stores.

2) Tick TOOL

Past comments:
(Shae: june 8, 2008)
For those of you who are out on trails with your dogs, just wondering what you use for tick control and how effective you find it to be. I use Frontline, flea/tick shampoo and spray with a herbal repellant when hiking but still am finding A LOT of ticks. Some trails seem to be worse than others, but I'd just as soon keep them off both of us.

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(Lauren M: june 9, 2008)
Were you as infested as we were? They were still crawling on me that night and my fiancee said he woke up with ticks crawling on him. I had some chigger bites that still itch.

I have used Frontline, but he was not on it this time. I stopped by Petsmart to pick up Bio Groom Flea and Tick and Sentry Natural Defense spray. I took care of the girls with the help of tweezers. But they are smooth coated, so it is easy to find the ticks, even the tiny babies.

I used the spray on Tim. Bathed him in Bio Groom, spot applied the spray when his coat was wet so I could find the clusters. I couldn't get the tiny ones, so I spayed when he was wet so that I could get it to the skin. The larger live ones where collected on a towel where I sprayed them directly. Some took a long time to die, and a few squirts of the spray.

The next morning I took a sample of the population to see what the survival ration was. All samples were dead.

So, I guess the spray at least worked, but it needed to be applied directly and it took a long time to kill the ticks (a slow and painful death!).

I would expect a flea and tick shampoo to kill the ticks by the time you rinse. I do not know if it was slow to kill, or if it was completely ineffective.

It would be nice to prevent them before they bite. Frontline is great, I pulled lots of dead ticks off of him earlier this spring. But, it only works after the bite, so they are still exposed to infection from a disease. I have gotten success from pre-spraying before venturing out, but it is smelly and oily. If the dog swims, it washes off, and thick coated dogs would need a lot to get it down to the skin.

if you or your pet are not allergic to Frontline, it is worth the extra money spent.

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(Patricia: june 11, 2008)
The ticks are HORRIBLE this year, specially the seed ticks!! Since I've owned my land in the Ironton area (VERY WOODY) When I go, my dogs go. The pet stores swore by Advantage but after using it... found it didnt have a thing in the paper work about ticks and I strickly asked for something for ticks. I used a lot of different products and finely tried K9 ADVANTIX. I LOVE THIS STUFF!! My Athena has NEVER had a tick since.

Now the package says its a 3 month supply.... One month I forgot to put it on... STILL NO TICKS. The package says to just put it on the nap of the neck through the fur and on the skin... I thought Ya Right, but did.... NO TICKS. She rolled around on the carpet like she was trying to get it off and I thought she was allergic, Not a problem, vet said she was fine. No shampooing it in, no mess, kills Ticks and fleas, even if you find you already have fleas in the house, kills them too. Athena swims in the river all the time... No problem!! it still works and I havent had to ever re-apply it. I've been using K9 ADVANTIX every since and swear by it. Now when I find something for Human's will let ya know LOL. Enjoy the outdoors.

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(Shae: june 11, 2008)
Thanks for the replies. I had heard it was going to be a bad year for mosquitoes, but am hearing more people say that the ticks have been bad this year, too. My biggest concern, besides that they are disgusting, is the diseases that they can transmit. Some places/trails seem to be much worse, even if it's the same terrain. I will definitely be more proactive and try and protect both of us prior to trampsing through the woods. Though Kiah doesn't particularly enjoy getting the ticks off her, she is getting some extra thourough rubs while I try and cover all her fur.

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(Dwain: june 17, 2008)
I use Frontline Plus. Don't forget the car and the dog's bedding after a hike - I also have a bottle of the Frontline Spray for the car and for the dogs bedding in the car (and coats).

I just posted a message warning about Promeris on a different thread - use it with caution - there's been some allergic reactions to it - Promeris doesn't seem to want to acknoweldge any case being reported by anyone but a vet (since Promeris is only available through a vet).
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(Lauren M: june 19, 2008)
I sprayed my car down as soon as I had some spray.

Frontline makes a spray?
I think I would be wise to do a preventative spray before a hike, so that the ticks don't jump on in the first place. I would like to prevent them from biting at all. However, the stuff is toxic (it stinks), and washes off in water.

Still, a light spray couldn't hurt to prevent many infestations that transfer to you despite whether or not your dog is on Frontline or Advantix.

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(Shae: june 19, 2008)
I didn't know frontline made a spray either.
I'm finding the herbal spray pretty useless, although Kiah does go swimming most any opportunity she has. I had an idea yesterday- haven't yet tried it. I didn't want to use anything with deet ON her, but I wonder if I sprayed it on a bandana around her neck if it would prevent any bites. Hmmm.

(Mary: may 26, 2010)
It's tick season again and I remembered an interesting article I'd read in Missouri Conservationist magazine all about ticks.  Tiny, Tenacious, Terrible Ticks - Missouri Conservationist - http://mdc.mo.gov/conmag/2005/05/50.htm

(Mary may 29, 2010)
This is great, because it works in places (on their body) where it's difficult to get to with tweezers: between toes, in the middle of a head full of dark hair, etc.

Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20), the tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away. This technique has worked every time I've used it (and that was frequently), and it's much less traumatic for the patient and easier for me.

Unless someone is allergic to soap, I can't see that this would be damaging in any way. I even had my doctor's wife call me for advice because she had one stuck to her back and she couldn't reach it with tweezers. She used this method and immediately called me back to say, "It worked!"