Brown dog ticks do not confine themselves to dogs but will also attach themselves to many other animals and people. On dogs, adult ticks are typically found on the ears and between the toes, while immature ticks feed along the dog's back. Outdoors, a brown dog tick crawls up on grasses, shrubs, and other vegetation, then attaches itself to a passing host, which may be a dog, deer, rabbit, person, etc. The brown dog tick is known for infesting homes after being carried inside on pets, usually dogs.
Indoors, a female may lay eggs in a crack and after a few weeks, hundreds of young ticks, called larvae, may be seen crawling about in search of a host. Usually, the ticks seek out a dog or cat, but may crawl onto and feed on humans in the home. Larval ticks and adults are capable of surviving long periods up to eight months without feeding. Outdoors, wildlife, such as raccoons and possums, may be responsible for bringing ticks into a yard, or the ticks may crawl into the yard from a neighboring property. The brown dog tick is important because it is known to transmit diseases to humans, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tularemia, human babesiosus, and human ehrlichiosis. In addition, the threat of bacterial infection is possible at the site of any tick bite, and, in rare cases, may even result in blood poisoning.
Brown dog ticks are greater pests in southern states but not in the north. They are typically found in heavy vegetation and tall grasses where dogs and other animals have been active. In yards, the ticks are usually found around shrubs and in landscaped areas, but will also be found in dog houses and kennels and beneath decks (if the pet has access beneath it). Inside, the ticks drop off the pet after taking their blood meal and crawl into cracks around baseboards, door frames, and window frames.