Arthropod of​​ Interest Post

Black legged Ticks

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Blacklegged Ticks also are carries of many diseases and can carry them in mulitple stages of their life.

Both nymph and adult stages transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis.

Lifetime activity :

Nymphs :

Nymphs are active May-August, and are most commonly found in moist leaf litter in wooded areas, or at the edge of wooded areas. The eight-legged, pin-head sized nymph typically attaches to smaller mammals such as mice, voles, and chipmunks, requiring 3-4 days to fully engorge. Nymphs also readily attach to and blood feed on humans, cats and dogs. Once fed, they drop off into rodent burrows or leaf litter in animal bedding areas where they molt and emerge as adults in the fall.

Adults :
Adult males and females are active October-May, as long as the daytime temperature remains above freezing. Preferring larger hosts, such as deer, adult black-legged ticks can be found questing about knee-high on the tips of branches of low growing shrubs. Adult females readily attack humans and pets. Once females fully engorge on their blood meal, they drop off the host into the leaf litter, where they can over-winter. Engorged females lay a single egg mass (up to 1500-2000 eggs) in mid to late May and then die. Larvae emerge from eggs later in the summer. Unfed female Blacklegged ticks are easily distinguished from other ticks by the orange-red body surrounding the black scutum. Males do not feed.

Behavior of Ticks :

The deer tick will quest when it actively seeks out a host. Deer ticks cannot fly or jump, but they can climb. Research has found that blacklegged ticks in the southern parts of the U.S. will quest differently than black-legged ticks in the northern states. Deer ticks in northern states will climb up blades of grass or other vegetation and stretch out its legs hoping to grab on to a host that is passing by. Deer ticks in southern states will spend more time under leaf-litter to avoid hot temperatures instead of climbing up plants. This reduces their exposure to humans and will instead find a small mammal or reptile as a host. Larval deer ticks can climb a few inches from the ground, nymph deer tick will climb up to one foot, and adult deer ticks can climb up to 2 feet off the ground

Distribution of Black-legged Ticks

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