Where Are Deer Ticks Located?

Deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) are found in many locations where their preferred host, the white-tailed deer, dwell. They are present throughout the majority of the eastern United States and tend to live in wooded areas and along trails in forests. Deer ticks reside on the tips of grass and leaves along these trails, enabling them to crawl directly onto the skin or fur of a passing host. Some of these trails may be found in suburban areas where forests meet subdivisions. Deer and other animals are often active in these areas.

Due to the arachnid’s small size, it can be difficult to locate the deer tick on its host. Also known as blacklegged ticks, adult deer ticks are approximately the size of a sesame seed, with larval and nymphal specimens much smaller. These parasites attach themselves to hosts and hide within the fur, hair or feathers.

On humans, deer ticks are commonly found in the areas near the nape of the neck or along the lower scalp. Extreme care must be exercised when removing a tick from the skin of any host, as bodily fluids may be released if the tick is crushed or punctured. The most efficient removal method includes the use of tweezers or forceps. It is important to remove the entire tick, including its embedded mouthparts.