Poultry Tick

Poultry tick

Name of Tick: Poultry tick

Danger Level: Not Applicable/Unknown

Nicknames: Fowl tick

Scientific Name of Tick: Argas persicus

Habitat: Worldwide, higher densities of the Poultry tick will occur in warmer climates, the southern United States is heavily inhabited by this tick

Specific Habitat: The Poultry lives in heavily wooded areas, anywhere there are large populations of wild birds, or near where chickens live. In and around chicken coops, in the floorboards, wood, in chicken nests, any structure that houses chickens is at risk for infestation from the Poultry tick.

Tick Facts and Information:  The Poultry tick is unlike other ticks covered on this site, as it is a soft tick. This tick lacks a hard shell. The Poultry tick is not a serious threat to humans, however we felt it was worth a mention since it has such a prolific and detrimental effect on domesticated fowl. The Poultry tick has multiple life stages, including larvae, nymph, and adult. In the Poultry tick the larval stage is not necessarily a single life stage, Poultry ticks may undergo multiple larval life stages. The Poultry tick hunts year-round. The Poultry tick functions more like a bed bug than a standard tick, living and hiding near poultry and emerging at night to feed when their preferred hosts are sleeping. Once attached to a host fowl the Poultry tick will feed for a duration that varies from a few minutes up to a few days, then drop off and transform into another life stage. The Poultry tick can live a long time without a blood host, several years or more. Once established somewhere they are a long-term threat. A single adult female Poultry tick can lay several hundred eggs. While this tick is known to bite human beings, information about diseases it has transferred to humans is scarce, more data is needed.

Tick Color and Appearance: The Poultry tick looks like a small soft raisin, adults are yellow if unfed, and turn blueish after feeding.  

Size and Number of Legs: The average adult Poultry tick is 1/8 of an inch, size will vary greatly during the tick’s life cycle. Adults have 8 legs.

Diseases Transmitted: tick paralysis, Newcastle disease virus, various other diseases that affect domesticated fowl

Control Solution: Tick Proof Tick Repellent (not for the chickens – for you!). Apply Tick Proof to your body and clothing if you work near fowl affected by the Poultry tick, as this tick has been known to bite humans.

Full Scientific Classification: Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Arthropoda, Subphylum: Chelicerata, Class: Arachnida, Order: Ixodida, Family: Argasidae, Genus: Argas, Species: A. persicus