According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ticks live up to 3 years to complete their entire life cycle, but many die off because they are not able to find another host for feeding. Ticks go through four life stages, including the egg, larva, nymph and adult.
PetMD mentions that certain ticks complete their life cycle in a matter of months, depending on the host. Certain species only require one or two hosts to complete their life cycle.
Ticks choose different hosts based on their life cycle. For instance, a tick in the early stages of life chooses a small animal or lizard for feeding. Ticks are able to starve to death, but this normally takes months or years.