Moose Tick Infestation

Moose ticks (Dermacentor albipictus) also are known as winter ticks. The winter tick is a parasite to ungulates such as elk, white-tailed deer, bison, mules, caribou and moose. An infected moose can carry a large number of winter ticks at one time. Calves are particularly susceptible.

Winter tick eggs hatch into larvae in summer and attach themselves to hosts in autumn. The ticks remain attached to the host throughout their life cycle. Larvae take a blood meal in the fall and molt into nymphs. By January, nymphs take a blood meal and molt into adults. Symptoms appear in late winter and spring, as adult ticks drop off the host to lay eggs. The animal may have patches of missing fur from scraping to dislodge the ticks. Although the ticks are not known to transmit diseases to their host, severe infestation may lead to death through added biological stress during the winter.