||Brown, becoming grayish when engorged
||Larvae have 6 legs, nymphs and adults have 8 legs
||1/8” (3.2 mm) un-engorged; 5/8” (16.5mm) engorged
||Rocky Mountain states
The Rocky Mountain wood tick — also known more simply as the wood
tick — gets its name from its primary distribution in the Rocky
Mountain states and its preferred habitat of wooded areas.
Similar to the lone star tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick is
considered a three-host tick because each feeding stage requires a
different host. This tick species becomes active with the first
warm days of spring, usually feeding from mid-March to mid-July —
when humans are most susceptible to wood tick-related diseases.
Larvae and nymphs feed mainly on rodents such as voles, chipmunks
and squirrels. Adults prefer to feed on medium to large animal
hosts including sheep, deer and humans.
Rocky Mountain wood ticks are usually found in wooded areas with
low-growing vegetation, open grasslands and around trails. This
tick is found at higher densities at lower elevation. This
environment helps them easily attach to a passing host that brushes
against the vegetation. Nymphs and adults overwinter in ground
The Rocky Mountain wood tick is a primary vector of Rocky
Mountain spotted fever, a severe infectious disease with a
mortality rate of more than 20 percent. A tick needs to be attached
for more than two hours before the disease is transmitted, so early
detection is key. The main symptom is a full body rash that
develops 2-5 days after the bite.
This tick species can also transmit Colorado tick fever and
tularemia, and is known to cause tick paralysis when it feeds for
at least 5-6 days.