Ticks are known for being nasty pests and bloodsuckers, many of whom transmit dangerous diseases that can cause serious harm to our health. Naturally, people usually do their best to cast these parasites off their yards and territory. However, there are quite many reasons why these tiny creatures can be good for nature and even bring certain use!
So what is the purpose of a tick? Interested?
Then keep on reading! It’s going to be quite an unusual article today!
What Possible Purpose Do Ticks Serve?
What are ticks good for? You probably have already asked yourself this question. Indeed, what good can these blood-sucking parasites do to people or other living beings on this planet except for transmitting diseases and invading our yards every year to cause more troubles?
However, there are several quite important benefits of ticks that most of us have no idea about! And believe us, you will be pretty much surprised to learn that ticks, in fact, are very important for the ecosystem!
- They serve as food for other animals
- The population of ticks can tell the scientists how the ecosystem is doing in general
- They take part in providing the diversity of life on our planet since ticks carry various microorganisms and bacteria
So as you can see, even seemingly useless creatures such as ticks can play an important role in existence and development of life on our planet. And now, let us take a closer look at their benefits rather than disadvantages to see what we could tolerate ticks for.
What Purpose Do Ticks Serve In Nature?
Many insects and bugs are helpful both for people and animals in the wild. For instance, lady bugs are known destroyers of aphids. But what about such unwelcomed creatures as ticks?
The major purpose of ticks in nature is that they are used by other animals as food. In other words, it means that ticks support other forms of life by their mere existence.
There are quite many species of animals, birds, and reptiles in the wild that consume ticks. For instance, wild turkeys, guinea fowls, and opossums adore these arachnids as their meal.
What Evolutionary Purpose Do Ticks Serve?
Do ticks serve a purpose in the evolution process? You will be surprised, but they do! You see, we all know that these parasites carry tons of microorganisms including different bacteria. And of course, everyone is aware that ticks are the number one transmitters of dangerous and sometimes even deadly diseases!
All this contributes to their major evolutionary purpose of controlling the population of species. Since ticks feed on the blood of mammals in nature, they often transmit those illnesses onto their hosts. Naturally, weak and old animals die giving more space to younger and stronger ones. Like this, ticks happen to participate in natural selection of species.
What Purpose Do Ticks Serve In the Ecosystem?
What do ticks do for the environment? It so happens that these tiny creatures have a positive impact even in this sphere! You might not be aware of this, but ticks help scientists to monitor the state of the environment and ecosystem!
Scientists always monitor the tick population to see how certain ecosystems are doing. In the areas where ticks are abundant, the populations of small animals, for instance, rodents like squirrels or rabbits, will flourish. On the other hand, if the scientists see that ticks population is low, it most likely means that the predators that feed on smaller mammals are getting out of control in this area.
Like that, ticks help us keep the populations of animals and birds under control and thus keep the balance in nature.
Possible Harms That Ticks Can Cause to Humans And How to Avoid Them
As you can now see, ticks are not only “bad guys” of nature. They also take an essential place in the ecosystem of the area they inhabit. Nevertheless, there are still multiple hazards that these parasites bring to us, people, and it is always good to be aware of them.
Moreover, since there are many species of ticks existing, different kinds of them carry different diseases.
So to better understand what you should expect from this or that kind of tick in terms of any possible danger, check out this chart we prepared for you:
|Tick Species||Disease They Carry|
|Lone Star tick||Ehrlichiosis, Heartland virus, STARI|
|Dog tick||Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Tularemia|
|Blacklegged tick||Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Borrelia mayonii, Lyme disease, Powassan disease|
|Rocky Mountain Wood tick||Colorado tick fever|
|Soft ticks||Tickborne relapsing fever|
|Pacific Coast tick||364D rickettsiosis
All these diseases are dangerous for people, and some of them can even be deadly! No wonder that people do their best to repel these parasites from their yards every year during the tick season.
However, except for fighting these bloodsuckers if they already invaded your yard, there are preventive measures everyone must take to make sure that ticks are kept as far away from you and your family members (including pets!) as it is only possible.
- Avoid walking in the areas where you are sure ticks dwell.
- Always wear clothes with long sleeves and long trousers when going out in the wild. Long socks are also your must-have piece of clothing!
- Treat your clothes and gear with any product that contains 0.5% permethrin. Such protection will survive several washes and cast ticks away from you.
- Make use of insect repellents that are registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Those must contain DEET, lemon or eucalyptus oil, or picaridin.
- Always check your garments and yourself, as well as your pets, for ticks after you come back home from the woods.
- Examine your hiking and outdoor gear as well.
- Remember to shower after each time being outdoors.
With these precaution measures, you will be able to avoid ticks bites and all the dangers connected with them.
Even though ticks can be useful for nature, they are still not good for us people.
This is why be careful and avoid getting in contact with them by all means.
Frequently Asked Questions
⭐What purpose do ticks, mosquitoes and wasps serve?
Ticks help to keep the ecosystems balanced and they serve as food for other animals. Mosquitos also form a biomass that is consumed by other species. Wasps are ecological predators and pollinators.
⭐What species of ticks are dangerous?
These are blacklegged ticks, American dog ticks, Rocky Mountain Wood ticks, Lone Star ticks, Groundhog ticks, and Pacific Coast ticks.
⭐How to repel ticks?
Use special repellents approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Also, essential oils of lemon or eucalyptus will help, as well as permethrin.
⭐What ecological purpose do ticks serve?
They help to keep the ecosystem in balance.