Ticks are more active during certain times of the year depending on the species and region. Spring, summer and fall can be dangerous times for anyone who enjoys nature. But you may find yourself wondering: Are there ticks in the winter? What happens to ticks in winter weather may surprise you.
Do ticks die in the winter?
No. Ticks survive the winter in a variety of ways, but do not go away just because it is cold. Depending on the species – and stage in their life cycle – ticks survive the winter months by going dormant or latching onto a host. Ticks hide in the leaf litter present in the wooded or brushy areas they tend to populate. When snow falls, it only serves to insulate the dormant ticks, which are protected by the layer of debris. Or, in the case of soft-shell ticks, they survive by staying underground in burrows or dens.
Are ticks out in the winter?
It depends. Some types of ticks can be active if the temperature is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit and the ground is not wet or icy. The American dog tick and lone star tick are not typically active during the fall and winter months. Blacklegged ticks, which carry Lyme disease, remain active as long as the temperature is above freezing. The adults look for food right around the first frost. Additionally, the winter tick, which hatches in late summer as temperatures begin to decrease, is active during cooler months. This tick is typically found on moose, and sometimes deer, in the Northeastern part of the country. These ticks are different from other species, because they will spend their entire lives on one host. Winter tick eggs hatch on the ground in August and September. Larvae seek out a host between September and November. Those that find a host will overwinter on it, holding onto its hair when they are not feeding. Those that cannot find a host will likely die. Females will remain on a host until the end of winter or start of spring. Then they drop into the leaf litter, where they will lay up to 3,000 eggs before dying.
So, are there ticks in the winter? Yes, there are. Most of them are not a threat to you or your pets, but some can be. You should keep an eye out for ticks even when it’s cold outside. When tick season begins, don’t get ticked off – keep your cool and call Terminix® to discuss your options for tick control.