The pigeon tick is a member of the soft tick family. It has a flat, egg-shaped, brownish-red body and the adult creatures measure between 8 and 11 mm.
These ticks have a long development cycle and are capable of fasting for several years. They can live for up to 10 years and are exceptionally insusceptible to extreme temperatures. Their main hosts are primarily feral pigeons. They often live in their nests in old buildings and enter penthouse apartments from there. Under certain circumstances, they can be very troublesome for people here.
The pigeon tick draws blood primarily from young pigeons, chickens and ducks. A serious infestation can debilitate the birds. As a result, they are unwelcome in pigeon lofts and chicken coops.
If winged hosts are lacking, the ticks migrate into adjacent dwellings and afflict people. Their bites cause severe itching and can lead to purulent inflammation and wounds which do not heal easily. People who are already sensitised to these bites can suffer from severe allergic reactions.
Lofts should be sealed against pigeons. In old buildings, an infestation of pigeon ticks is very difficult to combat and is usually a job for professional pest controllers.