Are Ticks Gone In Winter?

Are Ticks Gone In Winter?

We all know that ticks can spread disease. Some tick-borne diseases can have lifelong effects on an individual and an entire family, making it vitally important to know where these bugs live, how they get on people and pets, how long it can take for disease pathogens to transfer, and what time of year these bugs are active.

Let’s take a quick dive into a tick’s M.O. to learn more about these mainstay pests.

Ticks live in wooded and grassy areas. They don’t fly or jump, so the only way a tick will get on you is by clinging to you as you pass by. Since this is hard to do in short grass, you and your pets are most likely to pick up ticks when walking through grass that is over six inches in length. And, when a tick feeds, it can take 12 to 48 hours for illness to spread from the tick. This makes finding and removing ticks an important part of disease prevention.

When are ticks active? We’re sorry to tell you, but you’re not going to like the answer to this one. Ticks can be active all year-round.

Here are 3 reasons why:

Ticks don’t hibernate. While it can seem like ticks and other cold-blooded creatures go into hibernation, the truth is they don’t. When it gets cold, cold-blooded creatures simply go into a low energy state. This can appear like hibernation because extended periods of cold temperatures can cause a cold-blooded creature to become still for days, weeks, and even months. But, unlike hibernation, this low energy state can be interrupted when warmth is introduced. That means ticks can be active if the temperatures increase, even for a single day.

These are parasites that live on warm-blooded creatures. While ticks, like other cold-blooded creatures, can’t maintain a constant body temperature on their own, their hosts can. This warmth can allow ticks to be active even when the temperatures outside are extremely cold.

It has to be pretty cold for ticks to go into dormancy. Experts estimate that ground temperatures have to be below 45°F to keep ticks from being active.

So. are ticks gone in the winter? No. They can be active on wildlife and your pets can still pick them up if they go into places where wildlife have been or have established a den. It is also possible for wild animals to bring them into your home. If you have mice, rats, squirrels, or some other creature invading your house, it is possible for them to carry ticks in, even during winter months.

Don’t take risks when it comes to bugs and wildlife. Protect your family from pests with ongoing support from a knowledgeable and experienced pest control company, like American Pest.

Are ticks still dangerous in the winter?

By Alysha Vandertogt

Published: November 22, 2019 · Updated: December 3, 2019

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During the summer, the routine is familiar for cottagers: dress in protective clothing before stepping outside, check for ticks after coming back in, and, should a tick bite occur, lookout for the tell-tale bullseye rash that may signal Lyme disease. But what about in the colder months, when cottagers trade wading through forests with wading through snow? Where do the ticks go then?

First off, it’s important to recognize that not all tick activity is bad. “There are many of different species of ticks in Canada.” says Dr. Katie Clow, an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph who studies black-legged ticks and the risk of Lyme disease in Ontario. “Black-legged ticks are the only species of tick in eastern Canada that transmit the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which causes Lyme disease.”

Though people may be most concerned about ticks through the summer, in reality, “Fall is peak activity time for adult black-legged ticks. It’s when they are actively looking for a host to take a blood meal and reproduce,” says Clow.

And while they may not make a den to hibernate in or build up a cache to keep themselves fed, ticks do still have a plan for winter. “Black-legged ticks spend most of their life in the leaf litter of the forest. This is also true during periods when it is very cold,” says Clow. Rather than dying off, the ticks remain well-protected under the leaf litter and snow.

Still, Clow advises it’s good to stay alert: “If you lose a lot of snow cover, ticks can become active again. We do receive reports of tick bites, particularly when there are warm spells (like the ‘January thaw’),” she says. “In general though, winter is a much lower risk time.” Luckily, cottagers can rest easy knowing that ticks are not actively moving into new areas during cold periods.

Reports on the number of Lyme disease cases in 2019 are still coming in, and it’s not unusual to see a difference in reporting from province to province. Final numbers aren’t likely to be published right away, says Clow.

In the meantime, winter tick safety is much the same as in the summer. If you are out during any warm spells with snow melt, cover up and do a thorough tick check on yourself and your pets. “If you are in an area that doesn’t get very cold in the winter and the temperature fluctuates a lot, pet owners can consider keeping their dogs on veterinary-prescribed tick preventative year-round, or for a longer portion of the year,” adds Clow.

In 2017, the federal government pledged $4 million to Lyme disease research, and new research earlier this year suggested that while improving, Lyme disease cases are still under-reported.

Health officials: Ticks don’t hibernate in winter, protection still needed

Female Black-Legged Tick (Photo:Lennart Tange / CC BY-SA 2.0)

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) — Ticks that bite people can come out on warm winter days, and health officials say protection is still needed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminded people on Thursday that tick exposure is year round. They suggest using insect repellents, do tick checks, and take showers after being outside.

Health officials say ticks can be active on winter days when the ground temperatures are above 45 degrees. Most ticks are active during warmer months, April through September.

According to researchers at UW Madison, there are several types of ticks in Wisconsin. They include:

  • American Dog Tick
  • Black-Legged Tick (known as deer ticks)
  • Brown Dog Tick
  • Lone Star Tick
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Diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be caused by some ticks. Dr. Greg Gauthier, a UW Health infectious disease specialist, said finding a tick on the skin does not necessarily mean someone will acquire a disease.

“Ticks must be attached for a certain number of hours to transmit disease,” said Gauthier. “For transmission of Lyme disease, the tick would need to be attached for at least 36-48 hours. Anaplasmosis can be transmitted in less than 48 hours.”

If you find a tick, the Tick App, will allow people to participate in a tick exposure study done in partnership with UW-Madison. It is only available for iOS devices, and information can be found here

Do Ticks Die In The Winter?

There has been a lot of coverage about ticks recently, with such a dramatic rise in their population and the increase in tick-borne illnesses being confirmed. With summer upon us, people are taking extra precaution when going into areas that are known to be populated by ticks. What are ticks, then? Well, they are part of the arachnid family, the same as spiders, mites and scorpions. They are just as creepy as those bugs, too! Ticks are very tiny and hard to spot, often appearing as just a little freckle against the skin, as the majority of their large head is embedded into the skin of the unsuspecting host with just their body sticking out.

Because ticks are so tiny, they are even harder to detect in their common environments: areas with lots of grass and plants. Ticks prefer coniferous and deciduous woodlands, moorlands, wetlands and pretty much anywhere they are protected from drying out, so any places that are moist. There are many different species of ticks, but the most common ticks in Britain are the sheep tick, also known as the castor bean tick. These ticks are also the kind most known to bite humans, as they feed on a variety of mammals and birds. Other common ticks in Britain include the hedgehog tick and the fox or badger tick. Elsewhere in the world, common ticks include the deer tick and the American dog tick.

While ticks live all year long, they are most active in the warm spring months from March to June, and then again in late summer and into fall, from August to November. So do ticks hibernate? And is there a tick risk in winter? Surprisingly, ticks can survive the cold winter months by becoming dormant under some shelter, such as old fallen leaves. While the risk is greatest in the summer months, people should even take precaution against ticks during the winter, whenever they are in an environment that ticks would frequent.

Ticks latch on to their hosts by a technique called ‘questing’, where they wait on the end of a blade of grass or plant until an animal passes by, at which point it latches on to the host and will often remain for several days. Once it has had enough for its ‘blood meal’, the tick will drop off and begin the next phase of its life cycle.

The adult female tick, in the final stage of its life cycle, will attach on to a large host to eat, mate, and drop off to die, but not before laying thousands of eggs. These eggs will then hatch into tick larvae, and they will begin their questing for a host. Six-legged tick larvae usually feed on smaller hosts, such as small rodents or birds. They latch on to their host by questing, and remain on them until they have had enough of their meal. They then drop off from their host, and moult into the next stage of the tick life cycle: the tick nymph. Nymphs attach on to a larger host, such as a dog, cat or larger rodent, using the questing method, and feed until they are full and engorged. Then, they drop off and moult yet again, this time turning into the final adult phase of the tick life cycle. Depending on the species of tick, the adult tick will usually latch on to an even larger host, such as a human, for their final blood meal. This entire life cycle can take up to two years to complete, and many ticks die before reaching maturity due to not being able to find a suitable host to feed on.

The biggest concern with ticks is that some can carry a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi which, in turn, can cause Lyme disease. Lyme disease is an infectious, or parasitic, disease whose symptoms do not begin to present themselves until approximately 14 days after being bitten by an infected tick. Even then, the symptoms are difficult to detect, because they are very similar to a common flu, such as headache, sore muscles, extreme fatigue, upset stomach, muscle pain and trouble sleeping. In some cases, a bulls-eye-shaped rash appears on the skin, but this does not happen every time. If caught early with antibiotics, Lyme disease is completely curable. However, if not caught in time, the disease can cross into the central nervous system, hindering mental functions.

Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay: Ticks can be very small, make sure to check yourself over thoroughly whenever you’ve spent time outdoors.

So what to do if you’ve been bitten by a tick? The best course of action is to use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to grab a hold of the body of the tick that will be sticking out of the host’s skin. Try to grab as much of the tick as you can, then pull firmly but gently straight out. Avoid twisting or jerking the tick, as that could cause a part of the tick to remain embedded in the skin, and that runs the risk of some of the bacterium being released into the body. Clean to bite area with rubbing alcohol, and disposed of the tick by flushing it down the toilet, drowning it in rubbing alcohol, or putting it in a sealed bag.

No matter what time of year it may be, always try to take precautions when you are going to be in an area that ticks frequent. While ticks remain relatively dormant throughout the winter months, they are still around, under leaf cover and grasses. Some ticks remain fully active all through the winter. So it is always best to be cautious, apply insect repellent with at least 20% DEET and 0.05% permethrin, and wear long clothing when going into wooded or grassy areas – even in the colder months.

What Happens To Ticks In The Winter?

Do ticks die in the winter? The answer is no. Ticks are, however, more active in the warmer seasons. Learn more about ticks in the winter.

Ticks are more active during certain times of the year depending on the species and region. Spring, summer and fall can be dangerous times for anyone who enjoys nature. But you may find yourself wondering: Are there ticks in the winter? What happens to ticks in winter weather may surprise you.

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Q: Do ticks die in the winter?

A: No. Ticks survive the winter in a variety of ways, but do not go away just because it is cold. Depending on the species – and stage in their life cycle – ticks survive the winter months by going dormant or latching onto a host. Ticks hide in the leaf litter present in the wooded or brushy areas they tend to populate. When snow falls, it only serves to insulate the dormant ticks, which are protected by the layer of debris. Or, in the case of soft-shell ticks, they survive by staying underground in burrows or dens.

Q: Are ticks out in the winter?

A: It depends. Some types of ticks can be active if the temperature is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit and the ground is not wet or icy. The American dog tick and lone star tick are not typically active during the fall and winter months. Blacklegged ticks, which carry Lyme disease, remain active as long as the temperature is above freezing. The adults look for food right around the first frost. Additionally, the winter tick, which hatches in late summer as temperatures begin to decrease, is active during cooler months. This tick is typically found on moose, and sometimes deer, in the Northeastern part of the country. These ticks are different from other species, because they will spend their entire lives on one host. Winter tick eggs hatch on the ground in August and September. Larvae seek out a host between September and November. Those that find a host will overwinter on it, holding onto its hair when they are not feeding. Those that cannot find a host will likely die. Females will remain on a host until the end of winter or start of spring. Then they drop into the leaf litter, where they will lay up to 3,000 eggs before dying.

So, are there ticks in the winter? Yes, there are. Most of them are not a threat to you or your pets, but some can be. You should keep an eye out for ticks even when it’s cold outside. When tick season begins, don’t get ticked off – keep your cool and call Terminix® to discuss your options for tick control.

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Yes, You Can Get Lyme Disease From Ticks in Winter

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Ticks are hearty creatures. Despite that, most of us—including our doctors—believe these blood-thirsty insects die or hibernate at the first frost. Unfortunately, that’s a myth. Depending on the type of tick and the stage in its life cycle, ticks survive the winter months by going dormant or latching onto a host. They stay hidden in leaf litter present in wooded and brushy areas and a layer of snow on top of that creates a “snug as a bug” scenario.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe hotter summers combined with milder winters increase the risk of tick-borne diseases. Cases of Lyme disease showing up in winter months have been recorded in at least 11 states, with Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania having the highest numbers. Dr. Ken Holtorf, medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group, shares how we can prevent getting Lyme disease at any time of year and what we should do if we think we contract it.

Why did you decided to specialize in Lyme disease?

I had Lyme while I was in medical school. Like many others, I was sick and very fatigued. I went to physicians who told me it’s nothing, that I’m stressed and depressed. By trying to help myself, I learned so many others are suffering from similar conditions.

What is Lyme disease and how is it spread?

Lyme is an infectious disease caused by Borrelia bacteria, which is spread by infected deer ticks. The blacklegged tick also spreads Lyme and is quite active between October and March on those days when the temperatures are above freezing.

Since ticks are generally more active in the warmer months and because we spend more time outdoors during those months, we tend to believe that the threat is over once the cold weather arrives. Unfortunately, there is evidence that we can’t let our guard down during any time of year.

Where can we find ticks in the winter?

Ticks are found in most parts of the United States and in many parts of the world.

How does the cycle work?

Dr. Ken Holtorf says it’s never too cold to not protect yourself.

In August and September winter tick eggs hatch on the ground. The Larvae seek out a host between September and November. Those that don’t find a host die. The females that find a host stay put until the end of winter or the start of spring. Then they drop into the leaf litter and can lay up to 3,000 eggs before dying.

How common is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is now twice more common than breast cancer and six times more common than HIV/AIDS.

If Lyme disease is so common, why do doctors dismiss it?

Lyme disease is a master of disguise in the medical field. It’s commonly misdiagnosed or completely overlooked. Many of the symptoms of Lyme are shared among a number of other conditions.

The symptoms include:

  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Swelling or rash where one was bit
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Stiff neck
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches and joint and tendon pain
  • Arthritis
  • Feeling a tingling or numbness
  • Facial paralysis
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression and mood swings

How do we treat Lyme?

Aggressively. If not fully treated, Lyme disease symptoms can reemerge months to years after treatment is completed. Patients have reported symptoms in varying degrees.

Treatment is made up of a combination of prescription and/or natural antibiotics, antiviral, anti-parasitic, immune modulators, hormone balancers, nutritional supplements, low dose immunotherapy, and ozone therapy.

Can Lyme disease be spread in other ways?

A study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine found Lyme disease may be sexually transmitted. The theory behind this comes from the similarities between borrelia burgforferi and the bacteria that causes syphilis. They are eerily similar in structure and function.

How can we prevent getting Lyme disease?

Carefully check for ticks after you’ve been outside, even in the winter. Some experts recommend wearing tick repellent throughout the winter months as well. One other thing to be aware of is that even if you’re well covered outside, pets can carry ticks indoors.

Some experts recommend wearing tick repellent throughout the winter months as well.

How do we protect our pets from Lyme?

Check your pets and home regularly, too. You can talk to your pet’s veterinarian about ways to keep your pets free from ticks.

What else can we do to prevent Lyme disease?

Spread the word that Lyme disease can be contracted anytime of the year.

Do Fleas and Ticks Survive the Winter?

Do Fleas and Ticks Bite in the Winter?

Yes! While these pests thrive in humid, warm conditions, they can also live (and bite!) throughout the winter. It’s true they cannot endure freezing weather for extended periods, but they often find ways to survive anyway. In fact, some species of tick are most active in winter. Adult blacklegged ticks, for example, take their first blood meals during late fall or early winter. The winter tick is another especially durable individual, living exclusively during the year’s coldest months.

How Do Fleas and Ticks Survive the Winter

Whether hiding in leaf litter, attaching to a warm host, or overwintering in a garage or animal den, fleas and ticks have several methods for surviving freezing conditions. While fleas cannot hibernate or enter a dormant stage, ticks can. Going dormant on a host or under brush is actually a tick’s primary means of remaining alive through winter. Fleas, however, mostly seek warmth in shelters or hosts—like inside your home or on your pet.

Do I Still Need to Treat for Fleas and Ticks in the Winter?

Absolutely! Regardless of your environment, we suggest protecting your pets, your home, and yourself from fleas and ticks year-round. The risks are simply too great. Halting pest prevention, even for just a few weeks, can have frightening results. A single flea slipping through the cracks can lead to a full blown flea population in no time. Ticks are another matter entirely—we all know how dangerous they can be. We don’t even need to mention the diseases a tick bite can spread (but we will! Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, American boutonneuse fever, Powassan virus, tularemia, Colorado tick fever, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, tick paralysis and more).

How Can I protect Myself and My Pets from Fleas and Ticks

Prevention is your best friend. First, you need to ensure your home and yard are inhospitable to fleas and ticks. Remove all sources of clutter and debris from your lawn—this is where fleas and ticks will likely hide during cold snaps. A monthly preventative yard treatment with a naturally-sourced outdoor pesticide is also recommended (we do not suggest using traditional, toxic-based pesticides on your lawn or garden for the safety of your pets and family). For more detailed instructions on safeguarding your yard from pests, click here .

For indoor prevention , regularly spray possible entry points—like doorways, window sills, baseboards, attics, basements, etc—with a non-toxic indoor pesticide to create a repellent barrier against fleas and ticks. For more tips on preventing fleas and ticks from entering your home, click here .

For you and your pets , simply reach for a naturally-sourced insect repellent, like Cedarcide Original . Make sure to apply it before enjoying outdoor activities like hiking or visiting the dog park.

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