No one wants to find a tick in their home. Whether it’s on a pet, on you, or on someone else in your home, ticks are never fun. If you have a tick infestation, or are just worried about developing one, you may be wondering how long ticks can survive in a house.
There are several factors that determine tick life in a house. Where they are in their life cycle and how easily they could find a host are the two main factors here. Ticks have four life stages of their life cycle, and three of those require them to feed on blood in order to survive. If they are in one of those stages, and don’t have access to a host or blood supply, they won’t live for long. Tick life without a host is a few days at most, for most ticks.
How Long Can Ticks Live Without a Host?
To understand how long ticks can survive without a house you need to know what makes ticks tick. Most people think ticks are a kind of insect, but they are closer to arachnids like spiders and scorpions. They have eight legs like spiders, and they are generally small, round, and a dark red or black color. They can grow much larger after feeding, sometimes reaching roughly the size of a raisin and adopted a grayer or dark-red hue.
The first life state of the tick is the egg, and eggs don’t need blood to survive. A tick egg can survive for weeks without a host before hatching. After they hatch though, they will need blood for the rest of their life cycle in order to survive
Ticks across the larval, nymph, and adult stages of life can survive for varying amounts of time without any blood. The tick life without host for American dog ticks, for example, can reach up to two years.
The good news is that not every tick is so formidable. Most common tick varieties, such as black-legged ticks, can’t survive long without a host. Most homes have air conditioning and temperature control systems, making the inside much too dry to suit the humidity needs of ticks. American dog ticks might be able to survive years without a host, but they could only last a few days inside the average house.
Other ticks, such as the brown dog tick, can potentially live out their entire tick life in a house. That’s why they are commonly found in dog kennels. If you’ve got dogs, particularly dogs that spend lots of time outdoors or in a kennel, you should regularly wash their bathing to prevent ticks. Washing clothes after being outdoors during tick season can also help to keep ticks out of the house. Ticks may be able to live through a trip in the washing machine, but they aren’t likely to survive going through a dryer.
How long a tick can survive in your home depends on the kind of tick and whether they have access to a host and fresh blood supply. The average tick can’t last for more than a few days at most without a host, so don’t worry too much if you notice a tick. If you do get worried though, just call in the professionals and have them take care of the problem.