Fowl Ticks

Facts, Identification, & Control

Scientific Name

Argas persicus

Appearance

What Do They Look Like?
  • Size: Adults are about 1/4 inch long.
  • Characteristics: Nymphal and adult fowl tick mouthparts are not visible when viewed from above since they are hidden by the front margin of the tick’s body.
  • Color: Fowl ticks range in color from light to dark red-brown, and their skin is wrinkled.

How Did I Get Fowl Ticks?

Fowl ticks thrive in poultry houses and chicken coops. The pests conceal themselves near roosts during the day and feed at night, making them hard to track and remove. They may also get into homes on humans and pets who are in contact with infested animals.

How Serious Are Fowl Ticks?

Some people and animals experience irritation at the site of a fowl tick bite. In addition, these pests may pass diseases to chickens and negatively impact poultry's health and value. Death is rare, but egg production, poultry weight gain, and overall health may be severely depressed.

Fowl ticks can live for very long periods, up to four or more years, without a blood meal, which often results in reoccurring infestations. Since fowl ticks can go without blood meals for such long durations, removing all chickens or other domestic birds from a poultry house is generally not an effective control measure.

Signs of Infestation

The presence of adult, nymphal, and larval ticks are obvious signs of an infestation. In addition, symptoms from biting fowl ticks are an indicator of a fowl tick infestation. Feeding fowl ticks can produce red spots on the fowl’s skin where the ticks have fed, in addition to:

  • Anemia
  • Decrease in egg production
  • Paralysis
  • Weight loss

How Do I Get Rid of Fowl Ticks?

What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage fowl ticks and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep fowl ticks in their place…out of your home, or business.


Behavior, Diet, & Habits

What Do They Eat?

Although fowl ticks are usually associated with poultry production, roaming ticks can also invade and infest homes and attempt to feed on people and pets. Adult and nymph fowl ticks most actively seek to feed at night and feed for only about 15-30 minutes before leaving their host and returning to their harborage site.

Geographic Range

These pests are distributed worldwide. Within the United States, the modernization of poultry production has made fowl ticks somewhat spotty in their distribution. However, the Southern and Southwestern states are more likely to have populations.

Life Cycle

Fowl ticks, also referred to as blue bugs or chicken ticks, are in the group known as soft ticks. They undergo four developmental stages, which includes:

  1. Eggs: Adult females lay from 25 to upwards of 500 eggs after feeding on a host. Eggs will hatch 10-30 days after being laid, depending on temperature and humidity within their habitat. Fowl tick eggs are deposited inside small nooks and crannies throughout poultry houses.
  2. Larvae: Once hatched, the larvae begin to seek out birds for a blood meal. Larvae may stay attached for up to several days, not leaving the host until they are fully engorged with blood.
  3. Nymphal: Larvae will then drop off the host, molt into the nymphal stage, and after about one week, take another blood meal.
  4. Adults: After completing the nymphal stage, the fowl tick matures into the adult stage. Adults do not remain on the host; after each feeding, they return to the harborage site in cracks and crevices.