Argas persicus

The fowl tick (Argas persicus) is a soft tick with a flattened, oval-shaped body. It is a common ectoparasite (external parasite) of chickens worldwide.

Fowl Tick Appearance: As an adult, it is 6 to 9 mm long and a tan to reddish color before it feeds. After it feeds, it turns into a bluish color, hence the nickname given to the pest, 'Blue bug'.


Fowl Tick Behavior: The adult and nymphs hide in cracks and crevices in the coop, or tree bark, during the daytime. At night, they leave their hiding spot to feed on the chickens as they sleep. Usually it takes them between 15-30 minutes to feed. They leave behind, red spots on the bird's skin, often under their wings.

Fowl Tick Life Cycle: Fowl ticks undergo four developmental stages. The adult female will lay close to 500 eggs in their hiding spot, which will hatch 10-30 days later (depending on the temperature). Once hatched, the larve will feed on the birds, and remain attached for several days. Once engorged with blood, they go back into their hiding spot and molt into the nymphal stage, followed by adult stage. Fowl ticks can live for very long periods (up to 4 years) without a blood meal, which means you must find where they are hiding in order to get rid of them.

Taxonomy

  • Order: Ixodida
  • Family: Argasidae
  • Genus: Argas

Hosts

  • wild and domestic birds
  • rodents