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Where do the Ticks go when it Snows?

Posted by Jeff Gilchrist on Jan 17, 2019 2:27:57 PM

It has been a long time coming, but it appears this weekend will finally bring Eastern Massachusetts it's first significant winter storm of the season.  In the winter months it is easy to put yard pests out of mind, but it can be interesting to wonder; Where do ticks go when it Snows? and how do ticks survive the formidable winter conditions just to once again flourish come Spring?

large-Snow Driveway

Ticks have a two year life cycle, so enduring the winter elements is a must. To help think about ticks surviving the winter in the snow it is best to imagine the snow as an insulating blanket.  A winter blanket will shield from the cold outer temperatures as well as keep the warmer temperatures under the blanket from diffusing into the outer air.  Snow acts in the same way.  When it snows ticks are more protected from the winter weather.  The temperature directly below the snow will be moderated by the natural warmth of the earth and will remain much warmer than the air temperatures at the surface of the snow. Ticks can simply go dormant below leaf litter and snow until temperatures become warmer, at which point they will reactivate.  

It is possible for ticks to die in the winter, but researchers believe it takes 3 very specific circumstances:

  1. Ticks have not found adequate shelter under leaf litter
  2. There is no Snow Cover
  3. Air temperatures remain below 10 degrees F for several days

Without all three on these factors occurring simultaneously ticks are not likely to perish. So next time you or your pets are outside in the snow be aware that although ticks may not be visible, they are there...waiting. 




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