Introducing… the Baby Ticks

May 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm 39 comments

From eavesdropping at baby showers and reading the status updates of pregnant Facebook friends, I’ve gathered the waiting at the end of the third trimester is suspenseful and both thrilling and excruciating. And now, I can relate a little better. Courtesy of a tick.

In March, Ryan Somma removed a tick from one of the dogs. There isn’t terribly unusual and we have a whole disposal routine involving the toilet. Only this time instead of getting flushed, Ryan put the tick in a specimen jar.

The last week of March, Ryan picked up the vial off his desk and I heard this:


followed by:

“So this is what happens to a tick after you take it off a dog.”

Well I had to see for myself. I walked over and my first reaction mirrored Ryan’s.


Our tick had laid eggs. Hundreds and hundreds of eggs.

Tick Eggs - Side
Mama Tick and Her Eggs – March 29, 2009

And like Ryan, my disgust was followed by fascination… or obsession. Both terms are equally fitting.

For that day on, I was waiting for the baby ticks. When I was home, I would wake up, feed the dogs, check on the baby ticks. Sometimes if I was having a slow afternoon, the baby ticks got checked multiple times throughout the day. When I was on business trips and called home, I would ask my usual question to Ryan, “Did I get any mail?”. And then I would ask, “How are the baby ticks?”

As with any upcoming arrival, you share your excitement with family. I told my mother about the tick eggs. I told Ryan’s mother about the tick eggs. (Neither seemed particularly impressed).

Alas, despite my enthusiasm, day after day, morning after morning, those eggs were the same disgusting blobs they were on March 29th. There were no baby ticks. With each visit to the bookshelf to look at the specimen jar, I became more and more frustrated.

Finally, convinced they were dead, I gave up. I didn’t check on the ticks at all last week…. until Friday, May 1st. When I approached the specimen jar, I could see a lot of dirt on the inside.

Baby Ticks - Entire Vial
“Dirty” Vial (Photo by Ryan Somma)

At first, I was miffed, thinking one of the neighborhood kids had decided to shake it. And then I realized…. it was the baby ticks.


Baby Ticks - Lots (by Ryan)
Baby Ticks Waiting for the Jar to be Opened (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Baby Ticks (Cropped)
Baby Ticks – May 1, 2009

Our new pets aren’t exactly pretty, but they are interesting. They like to be as high as they can get. No matter how the vial is positioned, they climb to the top. You rotate it, they climb to the new top. It’s like a reverse hour glass.

FrontLine’s website says, “Regardless of species, tick eggs hatch in about two weeks.” That wasn’t the case with our baby ticks. When it was all said and done, it took them 28 – 33 days to hatch. I anticipated waited agonized for the baby ticks for roughly one human menstrual cycle. I can only imagine the suspense that accompanies one human gestation period!

Now that the baby ticks have finally arrived, I embark on another act of waiting.

This time I’m waiting for them to die.

: )

Entry filed under: Nature, tick.

Weekly Winners and Hunter Street Water Fights – April 26 – May 2, 2009 Another Symptom of Baby Tick Obsession

39 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dave  |  May 4, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    The horror. But I couldn’t help but load the full-sized photo of the momma tick with her brood of eggs. *Shudder*. Caviar from Hell.

  • 2. gasstationdave  |  May 4, 2009 at 3:24 pm


    Maybe if I haven’t been pulling them off of Brownie at an alarming rate, I’d find them cuter… but… EWWWW!

  • 3. Kristina Rosenbaum  |  May 4, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    You have forever changed my perception of my friend’s business. She owns a baby boutique in St. Augustine, Florida called…(wait for it….) Tickled Pink.

    If you ever choose to reproduce, let me know and I will crochet you a tick-themed baby blanket. Even if you don’t decide to reproduce, maybe I’ll make one anyways, just for the novelty of it. I guess it all hangs on the…erm…tick of your biological clock.

  • 4. Matt  |  May 4, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Having lived on a farm most of my life, I’ve seen a few ticks in my day. This is just a theory, but maybe they grow faster when they have a live animal to feed on. Hmm.

  • 5. geekhiker  |  May 4, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    I think you have a new winner for “most disgusting post ever”. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go scratch every phantom tick itch I’m now feeling on every square inch of my body…

  • 6. Ken Knott  |  May 4, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    That is truly terrible… I feel ill

  • 7. Anne  |  May 5, 2009 at 3:10 am

    Since they hatched in that vial, are you sure they are going to die in that vial?

  • 8. tgaw  |  May 7, 2009 at 8:30 am

    @Dave – Ha– I love the term “Caviar from Hell”

    @gasstationdave – Hmm– it might be time for some FrontLine for Brownie. It works pretty well for my dogs.

    @Kristina – Bahahaha– “Tick of your biological clock”. You are hilarious! And it would be interesting to see a tick-themed baby blanket.

    @Matt – The females have to detach anyway to lay their eggs, don’t they?

    @geekhiker – OOoh, I know that Phantom Tick Itch well!

    @Ken – Thanks for commenting, sorry to surprise you with a post on ticks.

    @Anne – That’s a good point and a Flickr user was telling me how he had a tick survive in a vial with no air, no food and no water for months. We’ll see how it goes. For now it appears are nymphs are dying off. But like Niles Crane and the electric eels, I won’t do anything… “Not until I’m sure they’re dead!!!”

  • 9. Dave  |  May 7, 2009 at 8:35 am

    When in doubt, apply fire.

  • 10. Cat in a Suitcase Video « TGAW  |  May 8, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    […] 8, 2009 I started the week with ticks and end with a species more widely accepted into American homes. A cat in a suitcase video. Hat […]

  • 11. julio  |  May 22, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    i have a question for you i have some bugs outside my home they are bright red and have the shape of a tick and there are a lot of them. can you please tell me if these are baby ticks please.

    • 12. chriggy  |  May 22, 2009 at 2:34 pm

      If they’re bright red, they’re not ticks. Most likely aphids. They can be annoying as hell, but unlike ticks, are harmless to humans.

  • 13. Carolyn  |  May 22, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Haha, Vicky, now you’re the baby tick expert. 🙂

    Are they even still alive? Give us an update!

  • 14. Circus of the Spineless #39 « Bug Girl’s Blog  |  June 1, 2009 at 2:16 am

    […] The Ranger’s Blog covers the media hysteria about the Giant Spiders That Attacked Australia (not). Tgaw has an amazing story of baby ticks hatching. […]

  • 15. Susannah  |  June 1, 2009 at 3:51 am

    And I’m waiting for baby carpet beetles. You’ve reminded me to be patient; they may take longer than my sources say.

    Are they still alive? Do you plan on feeding them?

  • 16. tgaw  |  June 1, 2009 at 10:56 am

    @Carolyn and @Susannah – We believe they have passed on. Though we still haven’t ventured to open the vial yet. 🙂

  • 17. gasstationdave  |  June 1, 2009 at 11:25 am

    i think they’re like vampires or something. you have to drive lil toothpick stakes through their [lack of] hearts, sever their heads completely off, burn them at the stake, flush them, bury them deep then do a lil dance on the gravesites.

    or just “nuke them from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure”

    • 18. Bedow  |  October 11, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      Yeah-In space no one can hear you scream!

  • 19. purps4you  |  June 17, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Or you can microwave them hahahahaahahahahhahah

  • 20. purps4you  |  June 17, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    and if they dont die microwave them agaiiiiin

  • 21. gasstationdave  |  June 17, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    that’s really not too bad of an idear!

  • 22. Jackie Shan  |  July 3, 2009 at 5:55 am

    Interesting. I wonder if all female ticks lay eggs after a bloodmeal. I suspect they do which is why no matter how kind hearted you are or how much reverence for life you have, it is always a good idea to properly dispose of the tick after removing it from the dog.

  • 23. Fun With Tick Clockwork |  |  July 9, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    […] Baby Ticks Credit: Vicky […]

  • 24. A Tick in the Family Way  |  July 28, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    […] . . . which was plucked off a dog and, rather than being flushed, was stashed in a glass vial in a very simple science experiment we could all conduct at home. I cannot decide whether what happened next was more cool or more gross . . . you decide. […]

  • 25. Christine  |  March 28, 2010 at 6:22 am

    HEY my baby ticks just hatched today!
    went through the exact same thing – waiting for them to hatch.
    and NOW, im waiting for them to die 😦

    as soon as they hatched i googled ‘baby ticks’ and found this page 🙂
    and yes, they took way longer than two weeks to hatch!

  • 26. Addams  |  February 3, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Thank you for the post.
    The photos were very helpful.

    We did it too.
    We were not sure what was happening, until, we read your post.

    It was creepy, and kind of, fun.

    It was still fun.

  • 27. Bob  |  May 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    A farmer told me that a ticks leechs and a mosquitos are all male ,female and it takes blood to produce eggs.

  • 28. Bob  |  May 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I put them in the garbage dispoal an run real hot water to flush them away

  • 29. KarenKlein  |  August 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    I recently took my dog to the groomer and was told they took some baby ticks off him and showed them to me. I almost died. I ran home and started searching my house and there they where. They looked like specks of dirt. On my couch in my bed only one thank God on the floor. We found out that Elton became immune to the frontline he was on and now wears a collar. I don’t know where the mother is but she sure did a number on my dog and house. We have an extermenator coming.

  • 30. lyvonne  |  October 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Five of us returned recently from a vacation in Costa Rica where we stayed in a nice private home rental. The third morning there, I sat up on the side of my bed, glanced at the wall, and saw spots lining the wall from the baseboard to two feet up the wall. I thought they were some kind of paint splatters but the sight grabbed my curiousity and I put my finger on one of the spots. It fell off the wall and started crawling on the floor. With closer observation I realized they were baby ticks. Ewwwww! We had the housekeeper come in to spray, but we found sprays do not keep them away. We spent the rest of our time keeping a watchful eye out for the little critters. My nephew has been ill since returning and is being tested for different things. Hopefully it’s nothing related to a tick bite.

  • 31. Recommended Viewing: Questing Ticks by MYRMECOS « TGAW  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:00 am

    […] I got to witness the miracle of life. Some eggs we had in a specimen jar hatched and we became the adoptive parents of hundreds of baby ticks. (We weren’t good parents, mind you, our charges all perished). Although our hearts raced at […]

  • 32. stefanos  |  May 1, 2012 at 6:41 am

    t mora tsimpouria einai kokkina??

  • 33. Baby tick | Imagedisc  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:39 am

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  • 35. same  |  December 9, 2012 at 2:38 am

    I have to comment on this. Since 1979 when I opened a book and saw thousands of tiny white ticks crawling on its pages I have been curious of these little non-wanted creatures. I can’t help but wonder why in the world God ever created them. I can’t find any know predators of them except for turkeys.

    I woke up this morning with my arm itching me. When I went to scratch it, ticks came to my mind. I couldn’t go back to sleep so I got up and went on line to inquire some more about these little creatures and found your research. Loved it.

    Anyway, after destroying the book I went to look at my poodle (that never left the house except to do her business outside the back door) I couldn’t believe my eyes. In the tract of this door were thousands of these things crawling up the glass.

    I looked at my pet and there were hundreds of them all over her. I rushed her to the vet and got her dipped.
    Did you know that they can live three years without a host.

    The person who owned the house before we purchased it had three dogs and two cats that had the freedom to rome in and out of the house. They must have brought them in.

    A few days later I saw a batch of them crawling on my daughters wall (they were coming out from under a loose piece of wallpaper). That’s when I thought to look on me, and my family to see if we got any on us. Sure enough, my son had them on him. Need I say, we left the house and went to stay in a hotel until the house was treated?

    To this day I’m paranoid every time my skin itches and I feel a little bump on me. I have to look to see if it’s a tick.
    Thanks for hearing me out!

  • 36. Alecea  |  June 1, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    So I was googling stuff about ticks and I saw something that reminded me of an experiance that I had, found this page, and I just had to share. Even though this post is a few years old!

    So a few years ago I was in Oklahoma for a family reunion and I had taken a walk around the camp ground with my cousin, a few hours later I’m sitting down eating lunch when I got the horrible burning sensation on one of my feet, I immediately took off my boot and was shocked to see hundreds of littlw ticks crawling up my foot, I quickly stomped, jumped, screamed and swatted at my foot, while trying to step on the ones who fell to the floor with my other foot, I was so paranoid for the rest of the day. I kept finding them on me too, My pants, In my socks, I was afraid to even put on my boots! I had to change and shower (and quarantine those clothes and boots!! Which really means tying them up in about three bags!) It was absolutely one of the scariest things I have ever gone through! I have always hated going to the “outdoors” and because I refuse to go back to that camp ground and I rarely feel enthusiastic about going to any kind of wooded area, one reason is because I can still feel the burning when I think about it, Not to mention I can still picture them crawibg up my leg biting away! Anyways, You were lucky that the babies were in a vial!!!! Thanks to whoever actually reads all of this! I figured I’d share.

  • 37. Barb  |  June 11, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Ok, now I’m freaked out! Yesterday I was sitting in my living room and on the ceiling I saw about 12-15 spots. I saw all these little black bugs on the ceiling scattering. I only got those few, but they were scattering fast. I thought they were baby spiders that had just hatched near my window, but now I’m wondering if some how I got ticks? I do have three cats but they are indoor and never go outside… any help? Suggestions? Ideas? Thank you for what ever help you can offer!

  • 38. Cheri Jordan  |  October 21, 2015 at 11:12 am

    I found a few adult ticks on my cat even after I put the medicine to prevent them from biting. They still bite but they end up dying and while I was pulling the tick off I made sure I got the head and the body and I See the legs and the back part that usually fills up with blood and I put it in the baggy and next thing I See a baby with it, just one baby and I’m all confused cause this isn’t the first time. I really thought that was the ticks head but today I realized nope it’s a baby. I’ve never in my life seen the mother tick and a baby tick together on my kitty. It’s a tad bit bigger than the little dots shown here. They come from the spider family and spiders carry their babies on their backs, So I’m thinking this is what is happening until I Saw how many babies are born at once But this mommy tick had only one on her body and my kitty didn’t have any other ticks.

  • 39. Diana  |  December 5, 2020 at 1:12 am

    🤣🤣I found this article because I too have done the same thing. They are just gross little eggs in a jar. Glad to see I might get to see them! Haha how long did it take for them to die ?


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