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Ticks, The Winter and You

Most people think that bloodsuckers like mosquitoes and ticks disappear along with the risk for disease transmission once there is a frost and the weather turns cooler. That’s true for mosquitoes; they either die, or some species go into a feeding diapause. Some ticks also go into a feeding diapause in the autumn, but not deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) – they are a different type of bug! The adult stage deer tick actually begins its feeding activity about the time of first frost (or early October throughout its range), and it will latch onto any larger host (cat to human) any day that the temperature is near or above freezing.

Some species, like American dog tick and Lone Star tick are just not active in fall and winter months. Others, like Blacklegged (deer) tick can remain active in their adult stage from fall to spring as long as the temperature is above freezing. Each life stage (larvae, nymph and adult) of any species of tick has a discrete time period when it is most likely to be looking for a host.

If you have stopped your pets tick prevention over the winter, get it started again now. Advice from Tick Encounters URI, Outdoor dogs and cats will likely be the first family members to find a tick.

Eliminate tick habitats

During the Heat of summer deer ticks are not hanging out in the middle of your lawn. They are living at the edge of your lawn in the leaf littler and debre. Any place that is shady. Pa real close attention to wood piles, Tall grass, sheds and stone walls. Creating boarders using stone or wood chips is helpful to maintain a barrier between tick safe areas and tick risky areas.

By trimming shrubs and low branches you can help eliminate areas that ticks like to live. Planting deer resistant plants will help keep the deer out of your yard. Remove bird feeders to a low traffic area. Seeds attract other wildlife.

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