Tick Life Cycle

Tick Life Cycle

How do ticks breed?

Ticks are parasitic arachnids that have a 4 stage life cycle. Ticks like other arachnids have both sexes, male and female. Ticks are egg layers but do not lay them on the host.

What comes first?

What comes first the tick or the egg? For this discussion let’s start with the tick you find on your pet or yourself. The really big ones, about the size of a jelly bean, are the females that are mature and fully engorged with blood. Once they are big like this they are ready to drop off the host and lay their eggs.

Thousands’s of eggs!

After the female has dropped off she finds a good spot and starts to lay thousands of eggs! A large fully blood engorged female can lay up to 3,000 eggs and these eggs can start hatching in as little as two weeks.

What hatches?

Tiny tick larva hatch out of the thousands of eggs. These larva are not “maggot like” but resemble tiny ticks and are referred to as seed ticks. Seed ticks are a little different from the other stages in that they have 6 legs instead of 8 legs. They are about the size of a grain of pepper. Seed ticks hatch out hungry and will climb onto vegetation and wait for a host. Seed ticks usually will feed on rodents, birds and reptiles but will also bite people. After they feed they drop off and shed their skin as they metamorphoses into the next stage.

Nymph stage ticks

The third stage of a ticks development is called the nymph stage. Tick nymphs are about 2-3 times the size of the larva. Nymphs have 8 legs like adult ticks and usually seek larger hosts. This stage along with adult ticks are the most commonly found on your pets or yourself. The nymph and adult stage are the disease carriers. Nymphs after feeding a good blood meal drop off to shed their skin to enter the final stage.

Adult ticks

The final stage is the adult stage. The adult stage is the only stage capable of reproducing. Adult ticks are about the size of a lentil before they begin feeding. Male ticks will swell a little while feeding but female ticks will swell to the size of a jelly bean. Adult ticks will often times group together on the host where they breed. Once fully engorged with blood the fat female falls off and lays eggs starting the whole cycle over again.


The Life Cycle of the Tick from Eggs to Ambush

Ticks are pretty disgusting to look at, and even worse to touch, especially when they’ve just gorged themselves on a “blood meal.” (That phrase says it all.) But how these creepy-crawlers are born, live, and die is fascinating stuff, and it’s worth understanding, for the safety of our dogs, and ourselves.

Ticks go through four life stages:

Egg; six-legged larva; eight-legged nymph; and adult. After hatching from the eggs, ticks must eat blood at each stage in order to move on to the next one. It can take up to 3 years to complete a full lifecycle, and most will die because they can’t find a host for their next feeding.

Infographic Linda Kocur

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ticks find their hosts by detecting animals´ breath and body odors, or by sensing body heat, moisture, and vibrations. Some tick species can even recognize a shadow! Ticks are able to identify well-used paths, where they rest on the tips of plants, in a position known as “questing.” There they lie in wait for an unsuspecting host to pass by. Ticks can’t fly or jump, but this ambush tactic is very effective.

While questing, ticks hold onto leaves and grass by their third and fourth pair of legs. They hold the first pair of legs outstretched, waiting to climb on to the host. When a host brushes by that spot, the tick quickly climbs aboard.

Ticks carry a number of diseases, such as Lyme Disease and Ehrlichiosis, so preventing a tick from attaching in the first place is the best safety measure.

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) released a 2015 Lyme Disease Forecast that predicted a higher than usual threat of Lyme disease in areas were the disease is currently widespread, in particular New England, the Upper Ohio River Valley, and the Pacific Northwest.

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The Life Cycle of a Tick

Ticks are tiny ectoparasites that feed on the blood of mammals. They occur in two basic forms, either hard-shell or soft-shell. The life cycle of a tick occurs in four stages. These stages are similar amongst all ticks, although the rate of reproduction may vary depending on species.

The basic life cycle of ticks

Ticks mature in four stages, moving from egg to larva and nymph to adult. When an egg first hatches as a larva, it requires a blood meal to mature. However, some species of larvae can live for months without maturing or finding a blood meal. All larvae are born with six legs.

After a larva finds a blood host, it feeds for about three days before dropping back to the ground. On the ground again, the larva will mature and eventually shed the outer layer of its skin (called molting) to become a nymph. Some species may require many molts and multiple hosts in order to mature.

After a larva feeds and molts, the next step of the tick life cycle begins. This is called the nymph stage. A nymph looks like a miniature tick and has eight legs instead of six. Again, a nymph must find a blood host and feed before it can mature. The length of time a nymph feeds can vary. After feeding, some nymphs become dormant for the season, some will drop back to the ground to make a final molt and others will complete the life cycle using the same host.

After the final molt, a nymph emerges as a mature adult and requires another blood meal before it can reproduce. Both male and female ticks typically take blood meals before mating, although females often become more engorged from the feeding than males do. This is the final stage of the tick life cycle.

The tick life span

A tick’s life span may depend on a number of factors, including the type of species. A tick’s life cycle may also impact life span. Many ticks can live as long as three to five months between each stage. Ticks that require multiple molts before reaching maturity can take up to three years to reach full adulthood.

Once a tick has reached maturity, its sole purpose is to reproduce. A male tick will die soon after mating. Some female ticks lay one large batch of eggs before dying, while others will lay a few smaller batches before reaching the end of their life span.

Understanding the life cycle of ticks can play a direct role in tick management. Treating ticks before they reach maturity and reproduce will prevent further spread. For help reducing the tick life span, call Terminix® and win the battle against these pests.


the tick life cycle: when, where, and how you can prepare

Summer is a time for adventure – not only for you and your family, but for ticks, too! Did you know that during the months of May, June, and July ticks are out and about looking for hosts and you could be one of them?

You may know that it’s important to take preventative measures and proactively check for ticks during the warmer months, but we’re here to help you understand why and how. There are many kinds of ticks, but we’re sharing the ins and outs of the deer tick, also known as the blacklegged tick.В

Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, but unfortunately, deer ticks do, and they’re often in search of a host to help them reach the next stage of their life cycle. To best avoid becoming their host, read on to learn the habits and habitats of the deer tick as it transitions through its life.

Female ticks typically lay their eggs in the spring after completing their two year life span. In fact, their life purpose is to reproduce and by feeding throughout each life stage, they’re gaining the strength they need to mate and do so. Because a tick needs to completely detach from its host before beginning the reproduction process, ticks aren’t physically able to lay eggs directly on a host. But, they’ll lay eggs just about anywhere else; ticks have been found to lay eggs in coat linings, carpeting, furniture, outdoor leaf brush, and other warm, soft places inside or outside.

Even though a tick is no more than 2mm in size, one tick can lay thousands of eggs. But don’t worry, tick eggs are actually easier to spot than ticks themselves, and they aren’t infectious at this stage. The eggs are often brown and red in color and appear to be translucent. If you find a batch of tick eggs, you can use salt as a natural product to begin drying them out, but it’s best to call an exterminator to identify an appropriate pesticide product or plan of action. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

MedExpress Pro Tip: Keep up with your weekly cleaning and de-cluttering during the spring and summer seasons. The more you monitor these tick-attractive spaces inside and outside of your home, the better chance you have of stopping an infestation from developing.

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The Life Cycle of A Tick

A tick egg is laid in the spring. A tick egg hatches into larva in the winter. A larva becomes a nymph in the spring and summer. A nymph becomes an adult tick in the fall and winter before laying its own eggs in the spring.

Stage 1: Larva

Later in the summer, tick eggs hatch into larvae. Once they reach this life stage, the thousands of tiny larvae that were once eggs are ready and waiting for their first host to pass by. A tick needs to feed on the blood of a host during each life stage in order to pass onto the next. Larvae are not infectious at their time of hatching. However at this stage, they seek smaller mammals as their first host, and one of the most common mammals they feed on is the white-footed mouse.

These mice are efficient transmitters of Lyme disease. If a tick is able to find and feed on a mammal who carries the disease like the white-footed mouse, the disease is then transmitted to the tick. If the larvae aren’t able to latch onto a mouse, they’ll feed on other small mammals like raccoons or even birds who may not have the disease. If the larvae feed on animals that aren’t infected, the larvae themselves do not become infected with Lyme disease at this point in their life. Larvae do not carry tick-borne illnesses at the start, but they can become carriers of Lyme when they suck the blood of an already infected mammal who was previously exposed to the Lyme disease causing bacteria, Borrelia burgdoferi.

Larvae growth peeks in August. When they are done feeding on a host and are full of blood, Larvae fall to the ground and begin transitioning to their next life stage as nymphs.

Stage 2: Nymph

Ticks become nymphs between the fall and spring. However, because ticks are inactive when temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s less likely to get a tick bite during winter months. Typically they’ll nest on a host without feeding, or sit dormant in leaf litter not seeking a host to feed on. Despite that, if you and your family venture out hiking on an unusually warm day, it’s still important to preform tick checks before returning indoors.

Ticks, at the nymph stage, become the biggest concern during the spring as they begin to search for their next host when the warmer weather breaks. During the months of May, June, and July, nymphs will crawl up tall blades of grass and brush to reach their host. Ticks don’t jump or fly. A nymph will wait for a desirable host to pass by and they’ll latch onto it when they make contact. This is called questing.

As the weather starts changing, the sun is shining, and your excitement to be outdoors grows, don’t forget to use a repellant spray, wear long clothing that covers the skin, and monitor your dog’s activity, too. Dogs aren’t a tick’s first choice as a host, but your pets become an easy substitute when they can’t come in contact with their primary choice, a deer.

In fact, we suggest consulting your veterinarian before the warmer days arrive. Often your veterinarian will recommend that your family pets be treated with tick and flea products. In addition to seeking a protectant, you should check your animal’s body for ticks before coming indoors, just as you would with your children.

When a nymph does find a host, it’ll typically hang tight and feed from it for four or five days. If the nymph was already infected with Lyme disease from a host during its larva stage, it could infect the new host at this time or anytime moving forward. If the nymph wasn’t infected during its larva stage, it could become infected from its host at the nymph stage.

Stage 3: Adult

Once the nymph is saturated with blood, it will fall off of its host and come to its adult life stage during the fall. Once again, at the adult stage, the tick will look for its third and final host for feeding. 1

Ticks prefer to feed on the blood from three different hosts during their lifetime. Unfortunately, humans can serve as one of their hosts in either the nymph or adult stage and because of this, Lyme disease can be transmitted to us if the tick was infected by a previous host. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares that a tick would typically have to be attached to the skin for 36 – 48 hours or more to transmit the disease. 2

Dependent on the time of year and weather conditions when the adult ticks feed from their final host, they will nest or begin mating. Males typically die after mating with one or two females, and females will reproduce by laying thousands of eggs during the spring months, and die shortly after that. 1

Coming In Contact with a Deer Tick

Even though you have educated yourself on the tick life cycle and have made use of our tips to keep you safe, you and your family may still come in contact with a tick. If you do find a tick on yourself or a loved one, you can remove it with tweezers, but in doing so, you face the risk of breaking the tick – leaving its feeding tube and tick barbs in your skin.

To ensure you safely and properly remove the tick from your body, visit your neighborhood MedExpress center where no appointment is necessary. If it’s your furry friend that you find a tick on, call your veterinarian for instructions.


Lone Star Tick

Life Cycle

The earliest significant activity of Lone star ticks begins when average ambient temperatures are above 10° C (50° F).

Each female produces 3,000-8,000 eggs, which are deposited under leaf and soil litter in middle to late spring. Incubation may take 30 days or longer, depending on temperature.

The newly hatched six-legged larvae or seed ticks feed for 3 to 7 days on a host. After full engorgement the larvae drop from the host into vegetation and shed their skins 9-27 days later.

The eight-legged nymphs attach to a second host and feed for up to 38 days; the nymphs then detach and rest for 13-46 days before they shed their skins to become adults.

Adults attach to a third host, feed for 6-24 days, and detach.

Adult numbers peak in May and decline until the end of June.

Nymphal Lone star ticks have a much longer period of activity and may occur from May through early August, with a peak in activity during May or June.

The larvae first appear in late July and peak in early August. Larval activity may also continue until late September. These larvae result from female ticks that have successfully fed and mated with a male tick earlier that same spring.

Oviposition occurs 7-16 days after the last blood meal. Larvae may survive for 2-9 months, and nymphs and adults for 4-15 months each; the life cycle may take up to 2 years to complete.

Lone star tick nymphs can move very quickly and may cover a person’s legs or arms in less than five minutes. This is a good behavioural characteristic to note to aid in identification of this tick species.

Adults and nymphs are active from early spring through midsummer, while larvae are active mainly from late summer to early fall. Low humidities and high daytime temperatures restrict the occurrence and activity of these ticks.

Further information

  • Sonenshine DE: Biology of Ticks. Part 1, 1991, Oxford University Press, New York

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What Is System Development Life Cycle [Guide]

A long-standing concept in the vast world of IT, a system development life cycle, or SDLC, is an iterative process that encompasses various activities that constitute the development of a structured information technology system. This term has been around for many decades and comes from a time when organizations were much more centralized. Still, as IT has been evolving as a field, and IT services as a market, an SDLC has become an important part of how companies build their software solutions.

This post is a comprehensive analysis of a system development life cycle. By reading it, you will learn what an SDLC is, its stages, advantages and disadvantages, as well as why it is important.

What Is System Development Life Cycle

A system development life cycle (SDLC) is a structured project management model that outlines the phases required to build an IT system, from inception to the final result. The aim of a system development life cycle is to enable effective production of a high-quality solution that would meet or exceed a client’s expectations throughout all its stages, within the given budget and timelines.

7 Stages of System Development Life Cycle

A system development life cycle is a conceptual process that explicitly breaks down the stages required to develop and implement a system. Each stage plays a significant role in the development and differs from others in complexity, required assets, and expected functionalities.

Let’s take a look at these stages further.

System Development Life Cycle Phases

There are seven phases in a system development life cycle:

Now, let’s discuss each of them separately.

1 — System Development Life Cycle: Planning

Planning is the most crucial stage of the SDLC process. It involves identifying and defining the project scope to determine a comprehensive action plan for the project, and pinpointing the issues the solution it would resolve. This phase outlines what will happen throughout the entire life cycle, and determines the success of the entire project. Team structure, timeframe, budget, security, and other fundamental factors should be accounted for at this stage.

2 — System Development Life Cycle: Analysis

The planning is finished and the team is in place. Now, the team needs to perform an analysis of the system’s functional requirements to ensure it will meet the expectations of the target audience. Those expectations are then finalized and documented. The next step is performing a feasibility study to ensure that a system makes sense from financial, technological, and organizational standpoints.

3 — System Development Life Cycle: Design

Once the analysis is over and the requirements are set in stone, the design phase begins. This phase describes how to approach the design of a system’s architecture, user interface(s), network, databases, and security so that they will satisfy the requirements and enable future updates.

4 — System Development Life Cycle: Development

The development marks the end of the preliminary part of the process and signifies the beginning of the production. Then, software engineers write code and fine-tunes the technologies involved in the project (this can also include hardware, for example if an IoT project is in question). This is probably the busiest stage of the life cycle, as it involves a lot of hard work from all the experts involved in it.

5 — System Development Life Cycle: Testing And Integration

This phase involves testing and integration of the system and all related procedures to assess if it performs as expected and fully delivers on the requirements. The quality assurance (QA) team is responsible for this phase.

6 — System Development Life Cycle: Implementation And Release

At this stage, the new system is rolled out to the production environment, replacing the old one. This stage is performed by moving new data and components to where the old system was. After the implementation, the system is available to end users.

7 — System Development Life Cycle: Maintenance

After the release, any software system enters the stage of continuous maintenance. Today, any software product needs to be frequently checked for bugs and updated with features big and small. Indeed, you product may perform well upon release, but bugs can arise anytime. As for updates, your software solution needs to adapt to quickly changing needs its end users.

System Development Life Cycle Models

Further, we will look at two different and most popular SDLC models, and one sub-model — Waterfall, Agile, and data system development life cycle, respectively. Each comes with its pros and cons that must be weighed to make a solid decision.

Waterfall Model System Development Life Cycle

One of the oldest SDLC models, the Waterfall model is a linear, sequential approach that is popular in IT product development; it emphasizes the need for consistently advancing from one stage to the next one. Each stage must be fully completed before proceeding to the next; after the stage is finished, it cannot be revisited.

The Waterfall model is composed of these non-overlapping stages

  • Simple to understand and follow
  • Clear milestones and deadlines
  • Clear documentation
  • Reinforces good coding habits
  • Provides a solid structure
  • Unsuitable for complex or object-oriented projects
  • Highly inflexible to scope changes
  • Difficult to estimate time and budget precisely
  • A working product emerges only on later stages of the cycle

Agile System Development Life Cycle Methodology

Being a dynamic and interactive framework, Agile has replaced the Waterfall system development life cycle methodology and became a significant driving force behind software development in the vast majority of companies across industries. This approach produces many release cycles where each iteration is tested, issues are addressed, and feedback is obtained from stakeholders throughout the process. It involves evolutionary development, continuous improvements, and flexible in the face of any changes.

  • Enables fast development and testing
  • Issues are detected and fixed quickly
  • Accommodates changes or enhancements
  • Face-to-face communication and continuous feedback
  • Less emphasis on design and documentation
  • Scalability
  • Employees need prior experience in agile software development
  • Less emphasis on design and documentation (this may be a disadvantage for some)
  • A project manager with experience in agile software development is required
  • No perspective on how the final product will shape up at the start of development

Database System Development Life Cycle

A database system is an integral component of a big organization’s IT system. The database development life cycle involves planning, designing, implementing, and maintaining a database system so it would fulfill an enterprise’s functional requirements. It is closely connected to a system development life cycle; the database development process begins right at the Requirements phase of an SDLC.

Database System Development Life Cycle Diagram

Here is what happens on the stages from the diagram above:

  • Database planning — planning how to move through the life cycle stages more effectively.
  • System definition — determining the limits of a database system, like the number of users and application areas.
  • Requirements gathering and analysis – gathering and analyzing the requirements for a database system.
  • Database design – the process of designing a database according to all of the requirements.
  • DMBS selection – picking the right database management system/DMBS for your database.
  • Application design – designing the software that will make it possible to use and process a database.
  • Prototyping – creating a working model of your database system that allows for evaluating how the system will look and perform.
  • Development and implementation – building the database and database-related software and implementing them into the IT infrastructure.

Advantages and Disadvantages of System Development Life Cycle

System Development Life Cycle is a conceptual model that can be applied to both software and non-digital systems. Knowing both the advantages and disadvantages of a system development life cycle will help you make the right choice for your system.

Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of a structured/non-Agile/standard SDLC:

Advantages of Structured SDLC:

  • Gives a defined view of the entire system, resources, timeline, and goals
  • Design reviews help to ensure the reliability and quality of the final product
  • Enhanced control over large or complex projects
  • Involves comprehensive and explicit steps
  • Provide goals and deliverables that meet the standards of each party involved in the project, requires keeping detailed documentation throughout the entire process
  • Easy evaluation of costs and growth of the developed system

Disadvantages of Structured SDLC:

  • Increased development time and cost
  • System details should be specified beforehand
  • The volume of documentation increases with time
  • Inflexibility when it comes to changes
  • Outdated processes
  • Testing may not be suitable for all development teams

Importance of Systems Development Life Cycle

A system development life cycle helps to lower the complexity of developing a system from scratch. It is important to have an SDLC in place as it helps to transform the idea of a project into a functional and completely operational structure. In addition to covering the technical aspects of system development, SDLC helps with process development, change management, user experience, and policies. Another benefit of an SDLC is that it allows for planning ahead of time, determine costs and staffing decisions, define goals, measure performance, and validate points at each phase of the cycle to boost the quality of the final product.

System Development Life Cycle Implementation

If the Waterfall model is a fitting choice for your project, you will only need an experienced project manager (or employee in a similar role) who will ensure that every stage is completed successfully and on time by working closely with the in-house team or an outsourcing partner’s team. Everything else is mapped out in the structure of this model, step by step.

If Agile is your option, you will need to find a project manager with experience in agile software development, or a dedicated expert, for example a Scrum master. Agile software development is an entire field, so having an expert here is a must. You can find out more about Agile in our posts with insights into the methodology (see part one and part two ) and about its metrics .

Briefly Summary

Whenever someone starts developing a new product, it is important to follow the system development life cycle. In this way, teams are enabled to work according to a structured approach for development of new solutions in a controlled and well-organized environment. Before the work on a new system begins, it is important to learn how an SDLC will meet the overall requirements, so it would help deliver the best outcome. Selecting the right SDLC will help you create the system you need quickly and effectively.

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