Moose Tick Facts & Information
Protect your home or business from moose ticks by learning techniques for identification and control.
How do I get rid of moose ticks?
What You Can Do
People venturing into the woods should consider wearing protective clothing, using insect repellent, and frequently checking themselves for ticks. If a homeowner is uncertain about how to manage moose tick infestations, ask your pest management professional for assistance and advice.
What Orkin Does
Your local Orkin Pro is trained to help manage moose ticks and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin Pro will design a unique tick treatment program for your situation.
Orkin can provide the right solution to keep moose ticks in their place…out of your home, or business.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Understanding Moose Ticks
Females: Females are slightly larger than males, are brownish-colored, and have pronounced tan-colored shields thier backs. When fully engorged, females are much larger than the males.
Males: Males are less than 1/4 inch long and have brownish mottled patterns on their backs.
Larvae: They have six legs and are less than 1/10 of an inch long.
Nymphs: Nymphs have eight legs and are only slightly larger than larvae. Both larvae and nymphs are much smaller than adults.
In addition to moose, this tick species will feed on:
Conditions that favor large moose tick populations include:
High host density.
An absence of summer drought that favors egg survival.
Early winter snow melt that increases the survival of engorged adults that drop from the host.
Warm fall and early winter temperatures with relatively little snow that extends the larval questing (host searching) period.
Large parts of New England, Minnesota, Canada, and Alaska are home to the pests.
Moose ticks differ from many other tick species since they are a one-host tick with a one-year life cycle. This means that moose ticks will attach to a host and remain on that host until it drops off and dies. Blood engorged females that drop from their host lay an egg mass that may number up to 3,000 eggs. The eggs hatch in the spring, but larvae stay bunched together in an inactive state throughout the summer.
As the weather cools in the fall months, they become active and wait on leaf litter or low vegetation for a host to brush by before attaching to the host. Because winter ticks do not leave the host, huge numbers of ticks may be found on its host (a study from western Canada estimated an average of 33,000 ticks per moose.)
Effects on Moose
While moose ticks affect most host species to some degree, moose seem to suffer the most. Infested moose react to tick irritation by intensely grooming themselves and by rubbing against trees to remove ticks and “scratch” irritated skin. This response to irritation may often result in hair loss and reduced feeding activities. Moose that are affected by hair loss are sometimes called "ghost" moose since the body areas where the animals has little or no hair looks pale gray, rather than the brown color of normal, intact hair.
The combined results of hair loss, blood loss, and tick irritation can cause serious consequences for hosts. Many times a severely infested and weakened moose will die when facing the cold weather conditions of winter, thus making the animal more likely to starve and perhaps more susceptible to predators. However, even when very heavily tick infested, they may successfully survive the harsh winter conditions if they are otherwise in good health.