The brown dog tick is unique in that it can complete its entire life cycle indoors. As a result, it is more of a domestic pest (occurring in and around structures) than other tick species. Other ticks can be brought indoors, but they are not able to build populations and infest structures like the brown dog tick. Because it is primarily an indoor parasite of the ever-present domestic dog, it is the most widespread tick in the world. It is usually introduced into a structure on an untreated dog that originated from or visited an infested location.
All life stages of the brown dog tick prefer to feed on dogs. Each stage drops off the host after feeding to molt into the next stage or to lay eggs. Because of this behavior, most of a brown dog tick’s life is spent in the environment, not on a dog. Engorged larvae, nymphs and adult females drop and search for protected cracks and crevices in which to molt or lay eggs. Where dogs stay during the night is the area most likely to harbor the most brown dog ticks in the environment, either indoors or outdoors. In suitable climates, brown dog ticks will infest outdoor dog houses, kennels and runs.
Before providing structural treatment, dogs must be treated with an effective veterinary tick control product. Brown dog tick management is a cross between flea and bed bug management because it is focused on pet resting areas and the surrounding cracks and crevices, although ticks can be found crawling on carpets, walls and furniture. These areas can be treated with appropriately labeled liquid or aerosol residual products. The addition of an insect growth regulator prevents immature ticks from becoming reproductive adults. Outdoor pet areas can be treated with either a liquid or granular residual product.