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Talking Ticks: The Deer Tick Life Cycle

deer-tick

As soon as temperatures rise in the late Winter and early Spring, ticks reactivate. Although some species of ticks are dormant during the cold winter months, they become active earlier than you may think. When temperatures rise above freezing and the snow cover melts, ticks begin to emerge and look for hosts.

There are three major tick species in New England to look out for: Blacklegged (Deer) Ticks, Dog Ticks, and Lone Star Ticks. The most common tick in New England is the Deer Tick. Deer ticks go through a two-year lifespan, undergoing three stages in their development; larvae, nymph, and adult. Nymph-stage ticks can become active as early as March, or whenever Spring temperatures arrive. Nymph-stage ticks are very small, about the size of a poppy seed.

Why Are Ticks Dangerous?

Ticks are sneaky; they feed on our blood and are so tiny they are difficult to see! These three qualities make them a nuisance, but what makes them dangerous is the harmful pathogens they carry. Even though the nymph stage tick resembles a poppy seed in size, their bites can pack a disease-infested punch, carrying diseases such as Lyme disease, Babesioisis, and Anaplasmosis.

Deer Ticks are the main carrier of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. It is estimated that around 20% of nymph stage blacklegged deer ticks carry the disease. That is why it is important to be proactive in not only preventing yourself from tick bites, but knowing how to effectively find and remove them from you, your family, and your pets.

Here are some tips to steer clear of ticks this spring:

  • When walking on a trail or path try to stay in the middle of the trail where it is open to avoid any unwanted contact with lurking ticks.
  • After an outing in the outdoors you should always check your body for ticks. Finding and removing a tick quickly can greatly reduce your chances of being infected with a tick-borne disease.
  • If you find a tick on you- follow these instructions to remove the tick. Also, learn about the tick keys we distribute to our clients.
  • If possible, try to save the tick in the jar in order to identify the tick and submit it for testing. Cape Cod is offering free Lyme Disease testing this year!
  • Get an early start on treating your yard with organic, routine tick treatments. This will help reduce the population of adult deer ticks that survived the winter, preventing them from laying eggs on your property.

Learn More From These Great, Local Resources

  • Tick Encounter
  • Department of Health-Vermont
  • Mass.gov
  • LymeTicks-Cape Cod
  • Umass Amherst Tick Testing

Let us help you make your yard safe from ticks and the diseases they carry.