When taking a walk in the forest or relaxing on a lawn, you should remember the dangers that may be lurking on every bush or blade of grass. These are moose ticks, the males and females of which parasitize the body of warm-blooded animals and feed on their blood. The main hosts are moose, deer, roe deer, and cattle. However, is the tick tick dangerous for humans? Especially in places where the insect is widespread. Let’s analyze it in detail.
The moose tick is not really a tick at all. The insect belongs to the family of bloodsuckers and the order Diptera. It is called so because of the external similarity with a tick and its diet, because it feeds only on blood. The scientific name of the parasite is the deer bloodsucker, but it can be called another way: moose fly, moose louse, deer tick.
The insect has the appearance of a small fly (3-5 mm) of brown color with a flat body shape, on which a large head with five eyes stands out – two main and three smaller eyes. But with such a number of organs of vision, he sees poorly, orients himself only by contours. The larger the victim, for example, an elk or a deer, the more attention it attracts, but sometimes it attacks a person as well.
The female tick is larger than the male. The elasticity of the abdomen allows it to stretch when bearing offspring and saturate the animal with blood. It has 3 pairs of legs with claws. The oral apparatus looks like a proboscis, with the help of which the parasite pierces the skin and sucks blood. It is called a fly because of its dense and transparent wings, which are very developed and have a length of about 6 mm.
The elk flea parasitizes both wild and domestic animals, mainly feeding on the blood of cattle and ungulate forest dwellers. If there are no main feeders nearby, ticks settle on dogs, badgers and bears. Due to the light brown color, they are difficult to see on the animal.
The flying tick has many names due to its ability to adapt and feed on the blood of any animal living in the area. Up to 1,000 parasites can settle on one large animal – deer or elk. Having flown to her body, the insect drops its wings, as they are no longer needed, preventing it from moving through the fur directly to the skin. This is how a bloodsucker gets on a person, getting tangled in the hair. It can cause a lot of trouble.
Stages of development and lifestyle
In order for a male to fully develop and be ready for childbirth, he needs to be well and regularly saturated with blood – up to 20 times a day. One larva is born every 2-3 days. Adult males eat much less often.
Since many such parasites live on the moose’s body, considerable blood loss occurs. Sometimes a whole cluster of ticks is located on the outside of the ears. Sometimes you can first hear the animal scratching behind the ears, and only then see it. She hoofs her big elk antlerszzzz very loudly while scratching. Even-toed animals lose their appetite, anxiety appears, growth slows down in young animals. Therefore, animals, especially sick and weak ones, get exhausted very quickly and die.
During the spring and summer, the larva of the moose bloodsucker develops in a cocoon, and by September the already formed individual leaves it and starts looking for a suitable host. She will spend the whole winter in a woolen cover, feeding on blood. During this period, a pair is searched for reproduction, after which a pupa appears. With the onset of spring, a new cycle begins. Adult insects die, and larvae form in a cocoon until autumn.
The moose tick is very similar to the common forest tick. It differs only in the presence of wings, although they are “disposable” and needed only for flight to the victim, and in the number of paws – it has six of them, while the forest one has eight. Deer bloodsuckers are spread over a large area of the country. Most of them are in those places where there is a large herd of even-toed ungulates.
Danger of bites for humans
Despite the fact that the moose flea attacks animals better, mass attacks on humans often occur. Insects are usually found in the forest or field in windless and dry weather. In most cases, foresters, shepherds and hunters are bitten.
Bloodsuckers have a good reaction to moving large silhouettes. Most likely, this explains why they attack adults, not children. Insects are most active in August-September. There were cases when up to 100 individuals attacked a person within a minute.
Caught on clothes with hairy paws, the insect freezes, and then begins to move towards the body, which emits heat. Most often, bloodsuckers sit on the head, where they can be firmly attached, but it is problematic to remove them. With the help of claws, they hold on to the body or clothes so tightly that they cannot be scared away, removed or shaken off. The tick remains at the bite site until it is removed or falls off by itself.
Having reached the body, the insect begins to act after about half an hour – to pierce the skin with its proboscis and suck blood. Human blood is not suitable for moose fleas. Eating it, they lose the ability to have children.
Each person reacts to a tick bite differently. It depends on individual sensitivity to the parasite’s saliva. Some feel only a slight discomfort, which lasts about two days. In others, the bite site causes severe pain, accompanied by redness of the skin, itching, and swelling. Such consequences of a bite can persist for 1-2 weeks.
The elk tick is dangerous for human health because its bites cause a reaction in the form of allergies and dermatitis of various types:
- Macular rash. It appears in the form of red papules, which very quickly appear on all parts of the body and are covered with a crust.
- Papular rash. The reaction is accompanied by inflammation and peeling. In this case, a consultation with a dermatologist and treatment is required.
- Dermographism. There is irritation of the skin with redness, swelling at the site of the bite. It happens more often in people prone to hives.
- Inflammatory nodes, erythema. Long-term treatment will be required – at least a year.
Many people wonder whether the elk tick is dangerous for humans as a carrier of serious infectious diseases (encephalitis, Lyme disease). The experts’ answer will be negative – it is incapable of infecting a person and is not poisonous like, for example, an arachnid insect – the black widow. And he will not reproduce on the human body.
At the initial bites of bloodsuckers, the immune system resists, so there are no sharp reactions. But with subsequent defeats by ticks, the body weakens, there are more serious complications on the skin and deterioration of the general condition. In this case, immediate help is needed.
Protection against bloodsuckers
Due to the structure of the body, the elk tick is practically invulnerable to physical impact – it is very difficult to crush it with a slap, like a mosquito or a fly. Therefore, in order to protect yourself from insects, first of all, lovers of hiking in the forest need to dress properly, that is, take into account all recommendations regarding clothing. Equipment must meet the following requirements:
- Clothing should not be tight. It is better to take a more spacious one, which would cover all parts of the body, as well as the head. Anti-encephalitis overalls are an ideal way to protect against bloodsuckers.
- Pay attention to the cuffs of sleeves and trouser legs, which should fit tightly to the wrists and ankles. If they are missing, tuck your pants into socks or use an elastic band.
- All fasteners, buttons and zippers must be fastened.
- It is necessary to protect the head with a mosquito net, which will save not only the hair, but also the face and neck. In the absence of an attribute, replace it with a cap, hood, or bandana that tightly fits the head.
- The color of clothes is very important – it is easier to detect insects on plain and light clothes.
- Treat yourself with a tick repellent. You can use such sprays as Fumitox, Reftamid, DETA.
After a walk, carefully inspect yourself and your clothes for insects, as well as comb your hair thoroughly. A flea transferred with clothes can settle in the house. Immediately treat the bitten areas with an antiseptic, alcohol or perfume.
If a tick is still on your body and has bitten you, you should immediately find it and get rid of the insect. There are several ways:
- The simplest and proven method, which has helped more than once, is to block the access of oxygen to the insect. To do this, you need to lubricate the tick with sunflower oil or fat cream. After 10-15 minutes, it will fall off by itself.
- You can use a thin, preferably kapron thread – pass it under the stomach, make a loop and tighten it closer to the head. Then, swinging the thread from side to side, carefully pull out the insect.
- Remove the deer bloodsucker using tweezers or a tick hook. Grabbing the tool under the stomach, perform counter-clockwise rotational movements. It is important to act slowly, otherwise the proboscis will remain at the bite site.
After removing the insect, disinfect the damage on the skin with alcohol, peroxide or cologne. If redness and itching occur, use anti-allergic creams and ointments: Histan, Psilo-balm, Soventol, Fenistil. In the absence of pharmaceutical products, apply aloe juice, soda gruel, vinegar or “Zirochka” ointment to the affected area.
Methods of struggle
Flying ticks usually live in forests with a large number of wild animals. They can settle not only in villages, on country plots, but also in apartments and private houses. This usually happens if there is a forest plantation, park or reserve near the house. Bloodsuckers not only crawl and fly around the house, but also encroach directly on the human body and health, so the sooner you get rid of them, the better.
Insects can be destroyed with the help of chemical means both independently and with the involvement of SES. In the second case, you need to make an order for the provision of services for the treatment of an apartment or house from annoying parasites – and the problem will be solved in one day. SES employees use liquid carbon dioxide, the temperature of which is -50 degrees. No living creature can survive at such a temperature.
You can try to deal with insects yourself. For this, you need to purchase means of a wide range of action to combat crawling and flying pests:
- Aerosol Delicia;
- Raid or Raid Max aerosol;
- Medilis Super;
- Raptor – universal protection against 17 types of insects;
- Contra Insect and others.
So that the midge does not attack the house again, the yard should be treated with chemicals. Modern means are absolutely harmless to people, plants and pets. The following measures should be taken, especially in those places where grass grows:
- Treat the area with chemical preparations: Inta-Vir, Agravertin, Iskra. For high-quality performance, it is better to use a special device – a steam generator, which guarantees the spread of poison even in hard-to-reach places.
- Elk bloodsuckers usually hide in tall, thick grass, so you need to mow it regularly and trim the lawns in the area.
- Periodically water or spray the vegetation, as ticks do not tolerate moisture. You can add chopped garlic or wormwood decoction to the water.
- Plant wormwood and tansy on the site, which will scare away insects.
When going on a hike in the forest, it is necessary to apply strong repellents that contain DET. They have a deterrent effect and will prevent ticks from getting close enough to attack. You should also not forget the rules of equipment.