Ticks are little arachnids that are dangerous to humans and pets because they can carry and transmit several harmful illnesses, including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis. While they are most active in the autumn and spring, they can survive all year long in almost every state in the U.S. But where do ticks live in the winter, and how do they travel to places where they can survive? MosquitoNix® has all the answers to your questions about ticks so that you can protect yourself, your family and your pets from these opportunistic pests.
How Long Do Ticks Live?
Ticks live for about 2 to 3 years, and their lifecycle has four stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. In order to survive and progress to the next stage of life, they must find a host to feed on for a blood meal. Hosts can include mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. One of the reasons ticks are so aggressive is that they are literally dying to attach themselves to a warm-blooded creature. If they fail to find a host, they will eventually die; some ticks can live up to 18 months without food!
Where Do Ticks Live?
While ticks survive and thrive in 50 states, not all of those ticks carry germs that are harmful to humans. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, areas where diseased ticks are most commonly found include the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic, the upper Midwest, as well as some areas along the West Coast. Some species, like the Gulf Coast tick or the Rocky Mountain spotted tick, live in smaller regions, while others have spread throughout the country.
Ticks like to live in humid and moist environments, such as swamps, beaches, marshes and wooded or grassy areas. They also prefer more populated spots like parks, picnic areas and backyards to be closer to their food source. Frequently, they hide in damp leaf piles, fallen or low-hanging branches and overgrown shrubs.
Can Ticks Live Indoors?
Most ticks prefer the outdoors; however, some species are known to lay eggs and nest indoors. One in particular is the brown dog tick, which is often found in dog houses, kennels and other structures where our furry friends spend a lot of time. Soft ticks are another type of indoor pest, frequently found in damp indoor spots where mice infestations occur, including rustic wood cabins and sheds. If you do find a tick inside, chances are good it hitched a ride on a person or pet who unwittingly brought it home.
Where Do Ticks Live in the Winter?
Many species of tick can survive cold weather and do not need to travel to warmer climates. In most cases, they get through the winter by going dormant or latching onto a host. Winter ticks, for example, hatch between August and September and seek out hosts between September and October. They then stay on their host and feed for the winter. Generally speaking, if the temperatures stay consistently about 45°F, ticks will be out and about, looking for their next meal.
How Can I Protect Myself Against Ticks?
Because many species of tick can live through the winter, make sure you're protected from these pesky pests year round. That means wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants outside; light-colored clothing is even better because it's easier to see a tiny tick. Tuck your pants legs into your socks, and take time to check yourself, your family members and your pets after spending time outdoors to spy any pests before they can feed.
Working with a professional pest control service is one of the best ways to ensure you and your family are safe no matter the season. At MosquitoNix, we offer a residential pest control service that covers ticks so you can have peace of mind. A licensed professional will come to your home, perform a comprehensive assessment and create a treatment plan for your and your family's needs. Contact us today to get started and request a free estimate!
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