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Colder Months and Ticks: What to Know Before Spring

Posted on: December 31st, 2021

It’s quite tempting to throw away your insect repellents when winter hits. However, that might not be the greatest idea, especially considering that the U.S. is a hot spot for tick-borne diseases. In fact, researchers have uncovered about 12 new diseases that are transmitted by ticks in the past five decades alone. So what happens to ticks in the colder months? Read on to find out more.

Can Ticks Survive in Winter?

One of the most frequent questions that people ask pest control services is whether ticks survive cold weather. While you won’t have to deal with a lot of insects during winter, you will still have to face a select few. Ticks do survive the cold weather, and they can even stay in the snow. During the winter months, ticks will burrow underneath leaves and organic materials so they can keep warm. Some of them even burrow deep into the snow so that they can stay away from freezing temperatures.

What Happens to Ticks During Winter?

During the colder months, ticks will enter a hibernation state known as diapause. During this phase, the ticks will decrease their cellular freezing. They do this by reducing the amount of water in their bodies. By doing so, they create a sort of antifreeze mechanism. It’s important to know that not all ticks survive using this mechanism. Instead of doing this, some ticks will survive the harsh weather by attaching themselves to a host so they can get warmth and a reliable supply of blood.

Ticks that are Most Active in Winter

There are some ticks that are quite active in winter. These include deer ticks, and their close relations, the western black-legged ticks. You must keep in mind that both these ticks can transmit Lyme disease. These are the ticks that quickly search for a host when it’s cold. However, if they don’t find a host, they will go dormant due to exposure to below-freezing temperatures. You must engage pest control services once you notice these ticks.

There are several ticks that look for shelter under leaf litter during winter. These ticks will generally go dormant and therefore won’t be a threat when it’s cold. Some like to seek shelter deeper in the snow where it’s warmer. However, once daytime temperatures start going above 45 degrees, these ticks will start to move and be active again. It’s important to engage pest control services once you notice ticks being active in winter. These are the ticks that you should be worried about as they transmit Lyme disease.

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