Ticks often wind up biting people in the armpit or groin. That’s a long way up for a tiny little tick. But how can something that hangs out in grass and on plants get up there? Do ticks jump to incredible heights? Can ticks fly? The truth might shock you.

Do ticks jump?

A flea can jump up to 13 inches high. If it were the size of a 6-foot person, that would be as high as 16-story building – an impressive feat for such a small insect. Given that both ticks and fleas like to share some of the same food sources, one might think that ticks are equally successful jumpers. However, this is not the case. In fact, ticks cannot jump at all.

Do ticks fly?

If they can’t jump, then certainly they can fly. Right? Ticks actually belong to the arachnida class – the same class as spiders, who thankfully can’t fly. Ticks cannot fly either and there are no species of ticks that have wings. But if they can’t jump and they can’t fly, then how do ticks get around? They have other tricks up their sleeves.

How do ticks find a host?

Ticks can be broken down into two categories. There are soft-shell ticks and hard-shell ticks. Soft-shell ticks act more like bed bugs when it comes to finding prey. They typically live in the nest of their hosts, crawl around the nest in search of food at night and partake in quick feeding sessions. Hard-shell ticks are a little different. Not only do they take longer to feed, they act more like web-building spiders when it comes to finding prey. Instead of going out on the prowl, hard-shell ticks find hosts through an action called questing.

What does questing mean?

Hard-shell ticks are patient insects. Much like web-building spiders, they lie in wait for their prey to come to them. To prepare for their prey, they quest, planting themselves on the grass or leaves and raising their front pair of legs in the air. Once in position, these ticks wait until a viable host brushes past, allowing them to climb on board.

So the next time someone asks you ‟can ticks fly” or ‟can ticks jump,” you can tell them that the answer is a resounding no. If you’re still concerned about ticks in and around your home, call Terminix® to find out what you can do to alleviate your worries. 

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