All About the Deer Tick

Facts about Ixodes scapularis (Blacklegged ticks or Deer tick)

  • A Deer ticks life cycle is two years long.
  • Deer ticks like to live mostly in brush and forest.
  • They get their name for their mode of travel which is usually on their host, a deer.
  • Both nymphs stage and adults stage ticks can pass along infections to animals and humans. They can also attach to humans and pets. They feed for three days before dropping off.
  • Deer ticks can transmit Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, Bartonella and Powassan virus.
  • The larvae have only six-legs and are active July through September and can be found in moist leaf litter.
  • Larvae are generally pathogen-free from eggs but recently research has found that they can  be infected with Borrelia miyamotoi.
  • Once larvae have fed, usually on small white mice for about three days, they
  • drop off of the host and molt, re-emerging the following spring as nymphs.
  • Nymphs are the size of a pin head and attach to small animals and rodents.
  • Nymphs are active May-August and remain mostly in wooded area.
  • Adult ticks stay active October through May, as long as the daytime temperature remains above freezing.
  •  After  females fully engorge on a blood meal, they drop off the host into the leaf litter, where they can stay over-winter.
  • Engorged females lay a single egg mass (up to 1500-2000 eggs) in mid to late May, and then their life cycle has completed and they die. Larvae emerge from the eggs in late summer.
  • Males ticks do not feed.
  • Researchers are unsure if Deer Ticks pass Bartonella to humans or not. Read Here.

Pictures of Deer Ticks

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What to do when Bitten by a Tick

Where Do I Send A Tick For Testing?



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