How Do Ticks Survive Winter?

by Jennifer Smith November 21, 2016

You hear that ticks are a year-long problem; but do ticks die in the winter? Ticks remain most active when temperatures are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit; but they do not go away in the winter, nor do they die because of the cold. Depending on the species, and stage of life of the tick, they become dormant or latch on to their host - like a warm-blooded human or deer. Just like humans, ticks wish to stay warm; and they will hide in leafy or wooden areas where they can escape the harsher temperatures. When snow falls, they will bury themselves in debris or whatever they can find. As noted in previous Deerbusters blog posts, deer ticks do not jump or fly; but instead they crawl upward. cases are most reported during the Summer and Fall months when individuals are enjoying outside activities such as hiking, walking outside or tending to gardens. But, now that the cold weather is here, you may be thinking that you are in the clear of getting bit by a deer tick or being infected by Lyme Disease. Think again.

Which tick species should you worry about this time of year?

Well, all of them. After any outdoor activity, it is best to perform a thorough tick-check on yourself, your family, and your pets. Most American dog ticks and lone star ticks are usually not common during the fall season, nor the wintertime; but Black-legged [deer] ticks remain active. The winter tick, commonly found on moose in the Northeastern region of the country, remain active, as well.

Here are things you should know about deer ticks:

1) Deer ticks come in small, medium and large sizes. They have a shell-like exterior and bury their heads into hosts;

2) Not all deer ticks carry Lyme Disease! However, if a deer tick attaches to your skin, you must remove it immediately with a tick remover tool; and get tested for Lyme by a doctor. You will have approximately 24-48 hours to remove the deer tick before the possibility of Lyme Disease transmission occurs;

3) Deer ticks may look like freckles, or poppy seeds on your skin. Take a closer look after outdoor interests.

4) Lyme Disease can be prevented. Wear protective clothing when outside for extended periods of time; and apply insect and tick repellent to yourself and your garden area.

(Original blog post from

Jennifer Smith
Jennifer Smith