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Pest Management University Spotlight: Brown Dog Ticks

Do you have pets at home? Click here for tips to prevent and control brown dog ticks.The brown dog ticks can be a serious pest in homes.

Ticks are not insects. They are more closely related to spiders and mites. The brown dog tick is an obligate 3-host tick. Pet dogs are usually the host. This means that the larva, nymph and adult must acquire a blood meal from the dog before proceeding to the next developmental stage. Allowing one female tick carrying eggs into your home can result in 5,000 more ticks if left unchecked.

Brown dog tick is the only tick that can successfully complete its life cycle inside a home, particularly in the Southeastern US, making this tick a concern not only for the dog, but people as well.

Tips for preventing and controlling brown dog ticks in homes can be found in our brochure and tick best managment practice guide.

Please contact us if you would like copies of the brochure and guide for distribution.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I have a bunch of ticks in my house what are they?

The brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus Latreille is a 3-host tick that is common across the United States. This is the only tick that can complete its life cycle indoors, making it’s management unique and particularly difficult.


  • What do ticks need to live inside?

This behavior is particularly prevalent in Southeastern and Gulf Coast states. Although R. sanguineus prefers to feed on dogs, it will feed on rodents and humans in the absence of dogs. Reported infestations continue to increase yearly in Florida as has the difficulty in eliminating residential infestations using standard pest control protocols.

  • How do I control them?

Brown dog tick infestations are one of the few remaining pests that cannot be controlled with targeted applications of baits. As a result, the risk due to pesticide exposure is high. It is not uncommon for elimination of this pest from a home to take six months to a year.

During this time, monthly or bi-weekly pesticide applications are made to homes, animals are treated above label recommendations (under veterinarian approval, as is legal) and children can be under considerable exposure to residual broadcast materials. Simultaneously, the outdoor areas of homes are also treated regularly.

  • What is insecticide resistance?

Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) definition of insecticide resistance is 'a heritable change in the sensitivity of a pest population that is reflected in the repeated failure of a product to achieve the expected level of control when used according to the label recommendation for that pest species.

  • Do we have tick populations that are resistant to insecticides?

Yes. In a laboratory testing, nine different colonies of ticks were evaluated for resistance to permethrin, demonstrating the possibility of chemical control failure in pest management applications. Five colonies of ticks have tested for fipronil resistance. Out of those colonies, two out of five colonies demonstrated tick survival at a dose that indicated resistance, demonstrating the possibility of chemical control failure in pest management applications.

  • How do I know I am dealing with a resistant population of ticks?

If ticks have been treated with the same product over and over without a decrease in tick numbers, you may have a resistant tick population.

Read and download our brochure and tick best managment practice guide. Please contact us if you would like copies of the brochure and guide for distribution.

Learn more about this tick that is quite happy to live at home with you.


This work was funded in part by a USDA Southern Regional IPM grant and by the Steinmetz Endowment.