Although Less Active in the Cold, Ticks Do Live In The Winter
As summer winds down and the cold weather rolls in, you might be breathing a sigh of relief that this year's tick-borne illness craze is finally over.
But, not so fast. With this year’s unusually warm weather that led to increased populations of ticks and mice, the risk of ticks bites and the diseases they transmit is expected to carry on well into the fall and even winter.
So, if you’re wondering, “When does tick season end?” The answer, simply put, is: It doesn’t.
Where Do Ticks Go In The Winter?
One of the major myths when it comes to ticks is that they die every winter, which is simply not true. In fact, according to University of Rhode Island’s TickEncounter Resource Center, even frost temperatures will not kill ticks.
Ticks typically remain inactive within leaf litter as temperatures drop below or near freezing. However, when unseasonably warm days occur and temperatures rise above freezing, ticks come to life and search for blood hosts by climbing onto vegetation in hopes of latching onto a host.
How Long Can a Tick Live Without a Host?
Although there may be a lack of potential hosts available during winter, ticks can live without a host for a very long time. While a blood host is essential to a tick’s development, once they’ve reached the adult stage, ticks have been known to live anywhere from several months to two years without feeding on a blood host.
So while you may have previously thought ticks were killed off as cold weather ensues, this is surely not the case. So, next time you’re doing outdoors activities on a warm fall or winter day, be sure to keep these blood-suckers in the back of your mind.
No matter the time of year, avoiding tick bites is the best way to prevent the spread of tick-borne illnesses. Check out these helpful tips on how to prevent tick bites and keep you and your pets tick free year-round.