As fall approaches here in New England we get many inquiries about when ticks will “disappear”? The short answer is never. Depending on where you live and the species of tick you can be bit by a tick year round.
While some ticks may become less active in the colder weather, some are just ramping up. Fall tick season can be just as active as spring and summer. For those in our area, the black-legged tick moves into its adult stage and becomes most active as it looks to feed as we move into fall. October can be a very active month for deer ticks (which is the tick that can infect its human host with Lyme Disease). You can expect to see deer ticks as long as the temperatures stay above freezing and the ground is not frozen.
Where are you most likely to find a tick in the fall?
Fall is an ideal season for ticks given all the leaf litter on the ground. Ticks are not very active hunters, they “quest” by staying on brush reaching out their legs to latch on to a host that may walk by. “Ticks can’t fly or jump, but many tick species wait in a position known as “questing”. While questing, ticks hold onto leaves and grass by their third and fourth pair of legs. They hold the first pair of legs outstretched, waiting to climb on to the host.” (CDC.GOV)
Once we get frost ticks are gone for the winter….right?
Wrong. A common misconception is that, like mosquitoes, ticks disappear once there is a frost and the temperatures cool. Although this is the case for mosquitoes, deer ticks will generally continue to look for a host if the temps warm back up. A deer tick is just entering the adult stage of its life-cycle and it needs to feed before winter. Even though the first frost may slow them down, when the temps rise back above freezing they come back out hungry and looking to eat.
What can I do to minimize exposure to ticks in fall?
- Know where to expect ticks and what environments fall ticks like, such as leaf litter and brush
- Stay vigilant with your daily tick checks on yourself, your family and your pets
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
- Wear bright colored clothing when recreating/working outdoors so you can easily spot a tick
- Utilize tick repellents - there are a lot of options but we always suggest finding a natural option over those with harsh toxic chemicals
- If you are using a tick control service continue those tick spray’s for your yard through the fall. Consider using or switching to an organic tick repellent control service like the one provided by Pure Solutions.
Want more information on the life-cycle of ticks?