Blacklegged (Deer) Ticks

Ixodes scapularis

Habits

During the winter, adult ticks feed primarily on the blood of white-tailed deer, which is why they are sometimes called deer ticks. In the spring, a female tick will drop off its host and will deposit about 3,000 eggs. Nymphs, or baby ticks, feed on mice, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, dogs, humans and birds.

Habitat

Blacklegged ticks prefer to hide in grass and shrubs while waiting for a passing host.

Threats

Blacklegged ticks or deer ticks are a vector of anaplasmosis, babeosis and Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a primary concern in the United States. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic bull’s eye-shaped skin rash. Lyme disease can also affect joints, the heart and the nervous system if left untreated.