May 11, 2022

How Long Can a Tick Live without a Host?

by Roger

Ticks have four stages in their lifecycle. These are parasitic arachnids and need a host for the larvae, nymph, and adult phases of their lifecycle.

Arachnids are a class of organisms with spiders, mites, ticks, and related organisms. If you want to know how long can a tick live without a host, you need to understand the different stages of the tick lifecycle.

The answer is different for each stage of the lifecycle.


Table of Contents

How Long Can a Tick Live without a Host?

Some ticks can stay alive without a host for up to 1053 days. Some may die without a host in a few days because they need to feed on the host. Adult ticks are more resistant to the environment. Most tick species can survive without a host more than the nymph and the larvae.

Adult ticks suck more blood when they have to reproduce because their reproduction depends on the host blood nutrients.

Eggs are also resistant to the environmental effects as they produce a larvae tick even when kept without a host for weeks.

How Long Can a Tick Live Without a Host
How Long Can a Tick Live Without a Host?

Let’s take a look at the five different ticks and their biological characteristics.

  1. Brown Dog Tick
  2. Rocky Mountain Wood Tick
  3. Blacklegged (Deer) Tick
  4. Lone Star Tick
  5. American Dog Tick

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1. Brown Dog Tick

Brown dog ticks can grow their population at an exceptional rate because each tick can produce up to 3000 eggs during one reproductive cycle.

These eggs will remain dormant for many months. They can hatch after eight months to produce the larvae. The ticks at the nymph stage can live more than three months if they do not have a host.

The adult ticks are most resistant in this species. They can live for 18 months without the host. Most of these ticks will try to find a host as soon as possible.

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2. Rocky Mountain Wood Tick

Rocky mountain wood ticks can survive up to 600 days without a host when they reach the adult stage. The adult stage is the most resistant to the environmental effects.

Other stages of this species do not live long without the host. Once the larvae come out of the egg, some can survive only 117 days without a host.

Most will die in the first 30 days without a host. Nymphs have a life duration half that of adults. They can survive for 300 days without a host.

Short life does not affect the population of the rocky mountain ticks because each tick can produce up to 5000 eggs in one reproduction cycle.

3. Blacklegged (Deer) Tick

The blacklegged (deer) tick larvae cannot survive a season without the host. Their first feeding stage starts when they are in the larvae stage.

Most black-legged tick larvae only feed once in their larvae stage. June to September is the most common feeding time for the larvae.

These ticks are also known as deer ticks because they prefer the white deer as their host at the adult stage. Nymphs are the most resistant stage of this tick species.

They can live for more than two years without a host. When the nymph reaches the stage of adulthood, it will attach itself to the host and stay there till the spring season.

It is crucial to know that adult black-legged ticks cannot survive for one season without a host.

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4. Lone Star Tick

Lone star ticks also have a fast population growth rate as a lone star tick can produce up to 5000 eggs in one reproduction cycle.

They are resistant to the environmental effects at all stages of the lifecycle. The nymph stage is the most resistant one as they can survive for up to 476 days without a host.

The larvae stage is most prone to environmental effects because they only survive 279 days without the host. The adult has intermediate resistance as they can survive for 430 days without a host.

These are the most common ticks for the disease transfer among the animals. Some of these ticks can transfer the disease to humans also.

5. American Dog Tick

American dog ticks have a longer life than the black-legged ticks. The larvae stage is the most vulnerable stage of this tick.

The larvae will only survive for 540 days without the host. Once this tick reaches the adult stage, it can live for more than 1053 days.

It indicates that they will not feed for more than 1000 days in the adult stage. It is one of the longest-living tick species without a host.

How Long Ticks Stay Alive?

Ticks can live for a few weeks to more than 1000 days. The life of ticks depends on the availability of the hosts. It also depends on the type of tick species. There are many ways a tick dies. It can die if it does not get the blood meal at one of its life stages.

Some animals and birds eat the ticks. A tick dies if it becomes a meal for one of these animals. At the egg stage, ticks may die if the environment is harsh.

The larvae will die soon without the blood meal. American dog ticks larvae can survive for 540 days without a blood meal, while the rocky mountain tick larvae will die in 117 days.

If they get the blood meal, their life will continue. It can go for more than 1000 days for some tick species.

Ticks Find their Hosts in Many Ways

Ticks are experts in finding the host of their choice. They use many parameters to identify the most suitable host. They will wait for the perfect host in the grass.

Ticks cannot jump or fly, so they rely on the hosts to pass near them. Once an animal arrives above the grass, it will check them by vibrations, breath, sound, smell, and shadow.

If they select the animal, they will wait for the animal to come near them. Once at a reachable location, ticks use the first two limbs to climb on the animal quickly. The waiting position is known as questing.

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Where Do Ticks Lay Their Eggs in a House?

A single tick egg is small as you cannot see it with naked eyes. You can identify the egg clusters because the ticks lay thousands of eggs simultaneously.

You have to look for the brown or black mass looking like caviar. The cluster can reach the size of a small coin. Ticks will try to lay the eggs in a hidden place.

Near edges of rugs and the base of the windows are the most common places to find the eggs. Ticks enter homes due to the pets.

When the pets go outside to play in the grass, ticks attach to their feet. Once in the house, the ticks can go to the most suitable place to lay eggs.

What Is the Most Time a Tick May Stay on a Dog?

Ticks can stay on the dogs for a few months to three years. The staying time of a tick depends on the gender of ticks. The male ticks stay on the dogs for a long time.

They can stay there for more than three years. The life cycle of the female ticks is different. Females fall off to lay eggs in a few months.

If the tick has a short lifespan, the stay time also reduces. Ticks are hard to find because they are good at hiding. The easiest way to find an infestation is by looking for the eggs.

If you find the egg clusters, you can conclude that your house is infested.

How Long Do Ticks Live on Clothing?

Most tick species do not live long on clothes. It also depends on the type of the ticks. Many other factors can influence the lifecycle of the ticks.

If they fall on a cloth that can absorb moisture, their life reduces. When you place the clothes indoors, they have a lower survival rate.

It is due to the low moisture indoors. Air conditioning reduces the moisture in the air, reducing the tick life.

Can You Get Rid of Ticks and Fleas with a Vacuum Cleaner?

Vacuum cleaning is a secret weapon to kill the fleas and ticks in your home. Many researchers found that vacuum cleaning will kill most fleas.

The ticks may survive the suction pressure of the vacuum cleaner. The ticks will also not survive because you will dispose of them with dust.

Dust absorbs moisture. Ticks need a high moisture level to survive. 

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Do Ticks Transmit Diseases?

Ticks are responsible for many types of disease transmission. Ticks cut the skin to reach a suitable location to insert the feeding tube.

When they insert the feeding tube, they exchange fluids at the start. The tick releases a cement-like material and anaesthetic to attach itself to the host without disturbance.

Ticks travel to many hosts in their lifecycle. They can transfer the diseases of one animal to others. Ticks are responsible for the transmission of many viral diseases.

Lymes disease is one of the diseases that can affect humans. Recently, the Congo virus became famous all over the world. It is a deadly disease that can transfer to humans by a tick bite.

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About the author 

Roger

Roger was born into a family of climbers. As the youngest of his siblings, he was also the most ardent climber of them. Small and agile, he practiced climbing all day. Today, Roger teaches children how to climb the large rock walls safely.

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