Thought this was informative - If there is one thing everyone agrees on, it's that ticks are disgusting. Add revulsion and fear, and you pretty much sum up what we think of these little disease-carrying bloodsuckers. And as the summer moves on, ticks are getting very hungry for you. Ticks are members of the Arachnida class of insects, related to spiders, mites and scorpions. Their life cycle is made up of four stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. They basically live to eat food, mate, and lay eggs up to 12,000 of them. They do this pretty fast, too. The brown dog tick's life cycle lasts from two to four months if it has food. If it doesn't get a blood meal, the brown dog tick can live up to 18 months just waiting for you to come by. Talk about a diet. Even more nasty is that these critters need a new blood meal for each of their four developmental stages. This means that if they take a meal from an infected animal at the larval stage, they can pass any diseases along when they take another meal at the nymph or adult stage. You don't want to be in their food chain. Here are some tips to avoid being on the tick menu: Wear protective clothing and footwear when you are hiking or working outside, especially in tick-infested areas. Ticks naturally climb upward, so on a hike wear boots or shoes rather than sandals. Light-colored pants tucked into light-colored socks will force ticks to climb on the outside of your clothes and make them easier to find. A long-sleeved shirt tucked into the pants will help, too. Make it a habit to keep an eye out for little things crawling on your pants or shirt. Don't let them make it to your skin. Try to avoid brushing against vegetation. On many trails, this is hard to do. As you travel around brush, try to get in the habit of looking for small insects. You can see most of them. Get in the habit of inspecting yourself at the end of a hike or after work in a brushy area. Pay special attention to the hairy parts of the body; showering is a good way to wash off ticks that have not attached. Washing your clothes in hot water will de-tick them. Putting insect repellent on your skin and clothes helps keep ticks from treating you like a walking refrigerator. Even if mosquitoes are not around, ticks might be. Pay attention to your pets to ensure they don't bring ticks home. Flea combing helps remove loose ticks, as does rubbing them with masking tape. Carefully check your pet's head and neck areas as well as between its toes. If your pet will stand for it, a bath can help get rid of ticks that have not locked on to the skin. If you get a tick that decides you are the next meal and manages to lock on, it is important to get it off without leaving its mouthpart in place. The recommended method for removing them is to grasp them with a pair of tweezers as close to the head as possible, pull GENTLY and steadily do not twist off the head. Also, do not crush the tick, as this will leave the mouthpiece in place and possibly lead to infection. It also can inject potentially infective fluid into the skin. After you remove a tick, clean the area with an antiseptic. Some folks use hot match heads or alcohol to get the tick to let go, but this can cause it to inject material into the skin so be relatively gentle and get the tick to come out on its own accord. Finally, remember the date that you were bitten with a tick, so that if you develop a rash, fever or other symptoms of an infection, you can help identify the cause. This goes for your pets as well.