Characteristics of Blacklegged Ticks

Blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) prefer to feed on deer and are thus also known as deer ticks. However, blacklegged ticks can bite humans when they come into contact with them. These ticks are capable of spreading a variety of diseases and are among the most well-known vectors of Lyme disease.

Blacklegged ticks, or deer ticks, are found primarily in forested areas, as they prefer to dwell in dense vegetation. Deer ticks inhabit areas near trails frequented by their hosts. Here, they cling to weeds and leaves while waiting for a suitable host to pass. Deer ticks then grasp the fur or clothing of their hosts.

Deer tick nymphs are capable of feeding for up to eight days. Most diseases are transmitted during this feeding. Adult females are also known to pass diseases on to humans. The most effective way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten. Experts recommend using repellants and tucking in clothing. After being outdoors, experts suggest inspection to find ticks. Try to identify and remove the feeding specimen as quickly as possible.

The life stages of the blacklegged tick are the same as those of other hard tick species. These ticks pass through egg, larval and nymphal stages before developing into adults.