Blacklegged ticks (a.k.a Deer ticks) take 2 years to complete their life cycle and are found predominately in deciduous forest. Their distribution relies greatly on the distribution of its reproductive host, white-tailed deer. Both nymph and adult stages transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis.
Blacklegged Nymphs are active May-August, and are most commonly found in moist leaf litter in wooded areas, or at the edge of wooded areas. The eight-legged, pin-head sized nymph typically attaches to smaller mammals such as mice, voles, and chipmunks, requiring 3-4 days to fully engorge. Nymphs also readily attach to and blood feed on humans, cats and dogs. Once fed, they drop off into rodent burrows or leaf litter in animal bedding areas where they molt and emerge as adults in the fall.
American Dog ticks are found predominantly in areas with little or no tree cover, such as grassy fields and scrubland, as well as along walkways and trails. They feed on a variety of hosts, ranging in size from mice to deer, and nymphs and adults can transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia. American dog ticks can survive for up to 2 years at any given stage if no host is found. Females can be identified by their large off-white scutum against a dark brown body.
Lone Star ticks are found mostly in woodlands with dense undergrowth and around animal resting areas. The larvae do not carry disease, but the nymphal and adult stages can transmit the pathogens causing Monocytic Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and 'Stari' borreliosis. Lone Star ticks are notorious pests, and all stages are aggressive human biters.
Lone Star nymphs are active May- early August, and can be found questing for deer, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels, turkeys and some birds as well as cats, dogs and humans.