Do Ticks Fly?

Can Ticks Fly?

Do ticks fly? This is a common question when wondering how they move around. However, ticks do not have wings so they cannot fly.

Many people mistakenly believe that ticks drop from trees when a suitable host comes by. This leads to speculating on how ticks get into trees and assuming it must be by flying, thus enabling this myth to persist.

Ticks do not fly, run, or hop in order to infest a host. Instead, they climb up on brushy vegetation and wait for a host to pass by – a procedure known as questing.

Tick Questing and Movement

Ticks sense a passing host by detecting:

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Body heat
  • Odors
  • Moisture
  • Vibrations created by an approaching host.

When they recognize a potential host, they hold onto leaves and grasses with their third and fourth pairs of legs, while stretching and waving their first pair of legs.

They hold the first pair of legs outstretched, waiting to climb onto the host as it comes into contact with where the tick is waiting. The tick’s sensory structures, known as their Haller’s organs and located on the tick’s first pair of legs, enable the tick to recognize the sensory signals the host gives off.