We often think of ticks as a summertime nuisance to watch out for during hikes and camping trips. However, ticks in winter can still be active, and can even be more of a potential threat during the colder months. Recently, winters have started later in the year and been more mild than winters in the past. This means ticks will be active for a longer period of time, and ticks in winter may even resurface if the season is hit with a warm spell.
How They Survive Winter
Ticks in winter do not “die off” or perish simply because of the cold. Ticks can prepare for winter in different ways, but most commonly will go dormant during the winter months and wait out the season. They will either go underground to keep warm, or hide in piles of debris to hide. However, if a tick hasn’t fed before going dormant, they will search for a host to attach to and spend the winter there. This means ticks in winter could be actively searching for a host before or as it gets cold.
Ticks in Winter
Depending on the type of tick, they may be actively searching for a host or a hiding spot to go dormant. Ticks usually not active during the winter that go dormant instead include the American dog tick and the lone star tick. The blacklegged tick, also known as deer ticks, carry Lyme disease and will remain active during the colder months, as long as the temperature is above freezing.
Tick Prevention Tips
Ticks during the fall will be actively seeking hosts to feed onto before the winter finally comes. While most people encounter ticks when they go into nature for a hike or camping trip, it is still possible to get ticks from your own yard and neighborhood as well. It’s important to understand which ticks are common in your area so you can be more prepared. If you are going to an area you believe might have ticks, it’s best to avoid wooded areas with brush, or places with tall grass and lots of leaf piles. These places are where ticks are most commonly found. Make sure to walk in the center of any trails while walking or hiking to stay away from potentially tick infested areas.
Check for Ticks
After you’ve been in an area you think may have ticks, make sure to check your clothes immediately after. Remove any ticks you might find. To be extra safe, tumble dry any clothes or fabrics in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes or more. If you need to wash any clothes or fabrics, wash them on high heat as well.
Make sure to also examine any gear you brought with you, as well as your pets. Ticks have been known to attach to backpacks or other things, and then attach to hosts once brought into the home.
Additionally, you should shower soon after being outside and check your body for ticks as well. Either use a mirror or have someone help you check all parts of your body. Some key places to pay attention to include in and around your hair and your ears. It’s very easy for ticks to hide in hair and fur, so make sure to thoroughly examine these areas. Also make sure to check under your arms, inside your belly button, your waistline, between your legs, and the back of your knees.
Prevent Ticks in Winter
Ticks in winter can sound intimidating, but you don’t need to worry! Prevent Pest Control is experienced in identifying and removing ticks at any time of the year. Visit our website or call (440) 322-0887 for more information!