/ How long do ticks survive indoors?

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danieleaston 14 Jul 2019

Does anyone know how long ticks can survive indoors without feeding? I just removed a tick, Saturday evening, after a short walk on the devon coast.

I climbed Goblin Coombe (very ticky) on tuesday, and removed 3. I climbed Avon (bit ticky) on Weds and removed one nymph. Now Im wondering if the adult I just removed (wasn't there this morning) has been crawling around my clothes for 4 days, or I picked it up today. Im away for a few days and none of the clothes or bags I have are from last weeks climbing.  

d_b 14 Jul 2019
In reply to danieleaston:

I always wash my clothes after coming back from goblin combe. Give the ticks a lesson they won't forget.

The problem is that if you don't boil wash them to death then they are pretty close to immortal and their natural instinct is to disperse and hide. You will never find them all.

Most of the time this is just annoying but the consequences can be serious. I did hear of one climber who nearly died of an internal tick infestation after they laid eggs in an open packet of muesli. Check all your food carefully and wear a treated head net when you sleep.

1
Flinticus 14 Jul 2019
In reply to d_b:

Oh God oh God. Thanks for that horror story. I will not be telling my wife this or me and the dog will be banned from the house or forced into a sterilisation procedure involvng the burning of clothes and a repurposed sheep dip.

SouthernSteve 14 Jul 2019
In reply to Flinticus:

The dog is easy - there are very potent products containing isoxazolines which will give excellent cover. Speak to your vet. I think only you should be banned, having no sensible treatment strategy and the dog should be let in. 

The brown dog tick ( a one host tick) will complete its lifecycle completely in the home, fortunately they are exceptionally rare in the UK. We have investigated a couple of possible cases and found just good old Ixodes.

As for

> ... I did hear of one climber who nearly died of an internal tick infestation after they laid eggs in an open packet of muesli. Check all your food carefully and wear a treated head net when you sleep ...

I think this may be just a little exaggerated 

d_b 14 Jul 2019
In reply to SouthernSteve:

> As for

> > ... I did hear of one climber who...

> I think this may be just a little exaggerated 

I didn't say who I heard it from.

2
danieleaston 14 Jul 2019
In reply to d_b:

So do I, usually, but shoes, ropes, bags etc make it a bit more difficult. Im hoping that i picked the new one up this weekend.

And that story sounds, err, not true.

plyometrics 14 Jul 2019
In reply to SouthernSteve:

I know ticks can be serious, but never realised they had the potential to be cereal killers...

Promptly gets coat. 

JimR 14 Jul 2019
In reply to plyometrics:

> I know ticks can be serious, but never realised they had the potential to be cereal killers...

> Promptly gets coat. 

Tick that box. I’ve already got my coat...

pasbury 14 Jul 2019
In reply to danieleaston:

Pretty sure I bought some home from mid wales last September and they latched on two days after I got home. They’d been hiding in my fleece I think.

I’m gradually treating all my outdoor gear with spray-on permethrin insecticide, I’d use Sawyer wash in stuff but it’s not generally available in the U.K. It’s important to note that permethrin KILLS the ticks. They won’t bite then.

i highly recommend this course of action to anyone going to ticky areas or indeed anywhere outdoors.

Alan Breck 14 Jul 2019
In reply to danieleaston:

When we had two Huskies there was always a problem finding ticks on them due to their thick coat. Unfortunately we often managed to miss one or two.

When the horrors were fully grown they would drop off and often the odd one would get trodden on on the way to the loo in the middle of the night. Not nice!

We have seen the fully grown ones heading for the edge of the fitted carpet but they usually got dispatched before they could reside there. If any survived the trip I can't say and unfortunately I can't tell you how long any possible survivors lived for. I HATE THEM !!

girlymonkey 14 Jul 2019
In reply to SouthernSteve:

> The dog is easy - there are very potent products containing isoxazolines which will give excellent cover. Speak to your vet. 

My dog had a tick latched on last week despite this treatment. I thought it was meant to stop them completely. Dunno if I need to speak to the vet about getting it more often, he currently gets a tablet once every 3 months.

SouthernSteve 14 Jul 2019
In reply to girlymonkey:

They bite, but should die quite quickly. There are some differences in the tick kill between products at the end of the treatment period, but if you think you have a treatment failure you should definitely speak to your vet. HTH

Billhook 16 Jul 2019
In reply to danieleaston:

I would have thought they could easily survive for some months after feeding.  I've picked up ticks regularly from a wet field which is only grazed by cattle once a year.  So I guess once the ticks have fed  and carried indoors (on the dog most likely), they can and do drop off as others have noticed,   I guess if they can find somewhere to hide around the floor/carpet until they fancy another feed - on the dog again?........who knows how long.

Post edited at 22:23
George Allan 17 Jul 2019
In reply to pasbury:

Lifesystems sell a permethrin spray for clothes in the UK.

https://www.lifesystems.co.uk/products/insect-repellents/ex4-anti-mosquito-spray

Diddy 18 Jul 2019

Slightly off topic but relevant. When there is a possibility of bed bugs keep you gear overnight in the bath so bags etc are not invaded during the night ready for you to carry them home.

pasbury 18 Jul 2019
In reply to George Allan:

Yes that's the one I use - surprisingly seems to be the only product generally available in the UK.

Bellie 18 Jul 2019
In reply to Billhook:

From a quote from another site (and taken from web).  unfed deer ticks are likely to last no more than 24hrs indoors, and only a few days on moist clothing.  Fed ones wont last 30 days (not enough time to bite again or lay eggs).

2
summo 18 Jul 2019
In reply to Bellie:

From my understanding black legged or deer ticks can survive all winter after a feed and only need to feed once per stage of their entire 1-2 year life cycle. 

I'm always out where there are ticks, so I have separate indoor and outdoor clothes and don't keep outdoor clothing any where near the bedroom or indoor clothing. A tick puller lives in my pocket. Using lighter coloured clothing makes it easier to spot the buggers before they get you. 

Rigid Raider 18 Jul 2019
In reply to danieleaston:

Separate clothes for inside and outdoors sounds like an excellent idea; we are about to move to rural Scotland so we are genning up on this now. 

I got bitten by bed bugs once in a small hotel in Abidjan; the owner was outraged when I told her ("Ah, mais c'est impossible, monsieur!") and Mrs RR went bonkers when I returned home and made me wash everything incuding my poor old suitcase because the bugs usualy travel in luggage. 

PaulJepson 18 Jul 2019
In reply to danieleaston:

One very good defence is a tumble dryer. Stick your clothes in one on high heat for 15 mins and that'll kill any ticks on them. 

Only downside to this is that 'outdoor' clothing is often synthetic and has a bad time in tumble dryers. 

If you're off cragging and the weather is good, there's a good excuse to wear comfy cotton.  

pasbury 18 Jul 2019
In reply to summo:

They need a moist environment though so probably wouldn't survive very long in a house.

summo 18 Jul 2019
In reply to pasbury:

> They need a moist environment though so probably wouldn't survive very long in a house.

There are definitely many more this damper summer than last years drought, but it can go a few weeks without rain and they don't disappear. Plus I have no idea how or where they over winter. 

pasbury 18 Jul 2019
In reply to summo:

They huddle down in leaf litter etc

all is revealed here (it made me feel distinctly squeamish):

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311097809_3_Life_cycle_and_ecology_of_Ixodes_ricinus_the_roots_of_public_health_importance

George Allan 18 Jul 2019
In reply to pasbury:

They are incredibly well adapted and successful little creatures- so much so that you have to admire them (although I find this rather difficult to do!).

pasbury 18 Jul 2019
In reply to George Allan:

The really big question is; in which direction is the threat going? Are there more ticks about? Are they carrying more diseases? Are more of them infected with these diseases? Are more humans going to be infected with these diseases?

I think these are all quite important questions, I also think nobody with any agency to do anything about it is paying attention. Diagnosis is actually the last resort and even that is a total mess. 

summo 19 Jul 2019
In reply to pasbury:

> The really big question is; in which direction is the threat going? Are there more ticks about? Are they carrying more diseases? Are more of them infected with these diseases? Are more humans going to be infected with these diseases?

> I think these are all quite important questions, I also think nobody with any agency to do anything about it is paying attention. Diagnosis is actually the last resort and even that is a total mess. 

Maybe in the UK, sweden it's a bit better. We are all vaccinated against TBE (tick Bourne encephalitis) which is randomly around Europe, mainly because we orienteer and bike in many different places.

I pick ticks off myself all the time but it's rare they ever get chance to hook on. I had one on in June and a week after I had a reaction. Rang the docs at 730, had the antibiotics in my hand by 10. The only real delay is the doctor confirming it was a tick and the reaction should be wider than 5cm for them to issue antibiotics. 

krikoman 19 Jul 2019
In reply to d_b:

> I didn't say who I heard it from.


Was it The Brothers Grimm?

krikoman 19 Jul 2019
In reply to danieleaston:

They're proper tough bastards, in a moment of Bear Gryllsedness, I thought I might skin a dead stoat I'd found, and see if I could make a very small pair of slippers out of it (that bit's not true, but I did try and preserve the skin - I still have it!)

Anyhow, after I'd skinned it, I thought about fleas and other things living on it, so I soaked it in a bleach solution for a few days. when I removed it I found a tick on it ear, the bastard was still alive.

Luckily it didn't get in to my cereal and lay eggs, to invade my body, I squashed it! The blood squirts out quite a way, when they "pop", blurgh. Like I said, they're bastards!

PaulJepson 19 Jul 2019
In reply to krikoman:

I'm struggling with which part of that I find the most gross.

pasbury 19 Jul 2019
In reply to PaulJepson:

Quite, I never thought I’d feel sympathy for a tick!

krikoman 19 Jul 2019
In reply to pasbury:

> Quite, I never thought I’d feel sympathy for a tick!


Wait till it's laying eggs inside you!!!

Post edited at 17:56
pasbury 19 Jul 2019
In reply to krikoman:

I don’t think they do that.....

krikoman 20 Jul 2019
In reply to pasbury:

> I don’t think they do that.....


Neither do I, I was taking the mickey, see the 2nd post above.

pasbury 20 Jul 2019
summo 21 Jul 2019
In reply to pasbury:

> A timely article:

The anti vaxers have a lot to answer for. 

Ghastlyrabbitfat 21 Jul 2019
In reply to danieleaston:

Slightly off topic....

Re survivability, a friend who is the wife of a Scottish gamekeeper told me that the frozen hares they defrost shed live ticks as they warm up.  This after many months in a domestic freezer.

In regard to preference for a host subject she also said that during his career (ten years plus as head keeper by that point) he had only ever found two ticks attached whilst his colleagues might come off the hill and find many after a single day.

Got the course of antiobiotics after the classic "bulls eye" sign appeared on my calf a week after picking one up climbing at Logie Head about 15 years ago.  'Orrible buggers.... 

scrubby 21 Jul 2019
In reply to danieleaston:

I don't know how long they survive, probably no more than 24hrs as suggested by Bellie: I never change or wash my clothes after getting ticked, and have never had late infestation, but then  I never use them the next day. The reason we all notice them at about 30-36 hours is that the body's reaction, the red itchy spot, is delayed hypersensitivity, and by then the previously very tiny and easily missed and non washable bastard(s) are gorged on you and are very visible on the red spot. The good news is that it is said by the medical experts, who we trust! that if they are removed by your tweezers before 48hrs it is most unlikely that you are in danger, so get them early on the second day.

muddyboots 26 Jul 2019
In reply to danieleaston:

i put a live tick in a jam jar and left it to see how long it lived , it survived about 8 days !!!!!

this was a empty dry jar with lid tightly closed , my understanding is they need to re hydrate themselves regularly so did not expect it to last long at all . this was very concerning , so the next tick i found i did the same again and it was dead after 3 days ,, so i did wonder if how long they will last depends on when they last hydrated themselves .

this is a very good book if you want to know your enemy , https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ticks-Lay-Guide-Human-Hazard/dp/1873644809/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=ticks+george+hendry&qid=1564138058&s=books&sr=1-2

Myfyr Tomos 26 Jul 2019
In reply to danieleaston:

Ah! Sorry. Thought you were intending to get one as a pet. A tick is for life, not just for Christmas etc. etc.

Sredni Vashtar 27 Jul 2019
In reply to SouthernSteve:

Here in America's famous California, record for ticks off the dog....32 i gave up at that point and hope the meds took care of the rest. 

From memory, i was told at Agri Col that Ixodes Ricilnus(?) spends 24 hours crawling around the host before feeding soyou have a chance to manually remove

SouthernSteve 27 Jul 2019
In reply to Sredni Vashtar:

Deer are major hosts here and there can be 100s-1000s on one large animal. They do spend some time mooching around before feeding – one (now withdrawn in the UK) product made them dance about for ages without attaching so that another part of the drug had maximum chance of getting on the tick and finishing it off. If they just bit as soon as they were in contact this would not have worked.

A few years ago a group looked at people running a two-day mountain marathon. The thing that is most striking about that study is that most people were bitten by the small (1.2-1.5mm nymphs) and these are likely to be more difficult to spot and that 16% contained the bacterium responsible for Lyme's disease (doi: 10.3201/eid2303.161397). I wonder how often we underestimate the number of ticks and bites.


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