Winter Hotspots for Ticks: Where you Will and Won't Encounter Ticks
For many of us, winter means having to adjust to shorter days and colder temperatures. As you pack up your summer items and exchange them for winter clothing, be sure to think twice before you pack up your insect and tick repellent.
There’s a misconception that people don’t need to wear bug spray while outdoors during the winter months. In many regions in the United States, mosquitos and other insects aren’t a concern during this season; however, tick prevention should be a year-round priority.
Do Ticks Die In The Winter?
Many people believe that ticks cannot survive frigid cold temperatures. However, that is a myth. Truth be told, every season is tick season, including winter. Ticks typically resurface when temperatures hit 45°F, and will either go dormant or will latch onto a host once temperatures hit below 35°F. Most tick species live up to four life cycles, and it can take up to three years to complete all four life cycles.
The number of Lyme Disease cases in North America have dramatically increased throughout the years, making Lyme disease the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. Each year, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported nationally. However, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) believe that the actual number of people who contract this tick-borne disease is closer to 300,000.
Where Are Ticks Commonly Found?
Did you know that most people get Lyme disease within 100 yards of their yard? That’s right! Ticks aren’t just latching onto deer or found deep in the woods, they are also nesting near your home. Fortunately, there are some precautionary steps that homeowners can take to deter these parasites from entering their yards during the winter months, and knowing where to expect these parasites will help tremendously.
Areas where you might come across an abundance of ticks include the following:
You might have never guessed that your driveway could become a common area for ticks. But the possibility of ticks lingering near your driveway is always a possibility, especially if it’s surrounded by woods, trees, or bushes.
Something so simple as retrieving toys could lead to a tick latching onto your children’s toy, or worse, your children. Think of all of the times when their toys have made their way into the wooded areas of your yard. Nymphs and even adult-sized ticks are very small, ranging from the size of a poppy seed to the size of a sesame seed. Their small size makes them difficult to spot, as they can easily be confused for a speck of dirt.
Homeowners whose homes are in close proximity to naturalized land home to wildlife are aware of the animals that frequently visit their neighborhoods. As beautiful as wildlife is, we have to be mindful that they are probably carrying ticks. Deer especially, as they can be found carrying several blacklegged ticks at one time. If you’re used to seeing deer roam through your yard and garden, then you can expect to find ticks in those areas as well. Areas containing shrubs, tall grass, and shady areas are also common tick hotspots, as animals tend to gravitate towards these areas.
When you ask yourself “where are ticks found?,” you probably would have never guessed a stone wall. Shockingly, stone walls are a popular hiding spot for ticks. The reason why is because of mice, a common host for ticks. Mice love resting and finding warmth in the gaps of a stone wall; this means that ticks can latch off of mice and thrive in the small voids of walls, as there is enough moisture to provide warmth for these parasites to survive.
Tree houses are usually built in or near the woods, which is where ticks usually reside. Ticks don’t commonly live in trees, but remember that these parasites can live just about anywhere a host is present. If your children actively plays in their playhouse, then neighboring ticks can certainly make their way in.
Don’t let this discourage you from letting your children play in their tree house. As long as your children are applying a long-lasting tick repellent, then they will never have to fear a tick bite.
What About Trees? Do Ticks Live in Trees?
Since ticks are very resilient, many people wonder whether ticks can live in trees. Common questions amongst people include: “do ticks live in trees?” and “do ticks fall from trees?” Fortunately, the answer to both of these questions is “no," ticks do not fall from trees, or live in them for that matter.
Although ticks can thrive in many different environments, they do not favor trees. Ticks need to be near a host in order to survive; and their chances of finding several hosts to latch onto while living in a tree are slim compared to being at ground level.
Keep Your Family Tick Free
The most effective way to prevent a tick-borne disease is by taking preventative measures, such as applying a long-wearing tick repellent before spending long periods of time outdoors. Don’t forget to apply a tick repellent for children on your children prior to playing outdoors. We recommend our picaridin repellent, which is free of DEET, a harmful ingredient found in many insect and tick repellents.
Stay tick and worry-free next time you and your family plan to spend time outdoors.