Ticks are well-adapted to living in a variety of ecological environments. They can thrive in warm, humid conditions and freezing temperatures alike. However, there is one environment that ticks find particularly challenging: the winter season.
During the cold winter months, ticks enter a state of dormancy known as diapause, during which they are essentially inactive and non-reproductive.
Temperatures below 35 degrees are typically enough to cause most ticks to go into diapause. However, if temperatures drop down to 14 degrees or lower – many ticks die off due to the extreme cold.
However, even these frigid temperatures aren’t enough to guarantee that all ticks will perish during the winter season.
Certain species of hardy tick, such as Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus, can survive even subzero temperatures by releasing natural antifreezes into their bloodstreams.
Overall, while ticks are unlikely to be active outdoors during the harsh winter days, they can still pose a significant threat to humans once spring rolls around again.
Are Ticks Still Active During Cold Weather?
Most people believe that ticks die off during the winter season because of the low temperature during these times. During this time people lower their guards resulting in more tick bites and an increase in the number of tick-borne diseases.
What most people don’t know is, that although there is a decrease in activity during the winter season, ticks do not perish. This is because ticks can go through the process of slowing down their metabolism when an extreme drop in temperature occurs.
Ticks simply go inactive when the temperature is not bearable for them. For instance, the Black-legged tick and the Lone star tick for instance will go into the dormant stage when the temperature drops to -21.7oC / -7.06oF.
These types of ticks drink as much blood as they can when the temperature is ideal for them and will stay burrowed until the temperature slightly rises.
Where Do Ticks Go during the Cold Weather?
Ticks will find a protected environment such as:
- In the cracks of wood and stones.
- Under the edge of siding and roofs.
- In piles of leaves, fallen logs, and dead animals.
- Inside houses near the fireplace or furnace.
What Happens to Ticks When the Temperature Rises?
As soon as the temperature starts to rise, so does tick activity. Ticks will come out of their dormant stage and become active in the search for a host. The Black-legged tick and Lone Star tick can become active when the temperature is at least -18oC / 0oF.
Once a tick finds a host, it will latch on and start to feed. Ticks can become engorged with blood in as little as three days.
Ticks are more active during the spring and fall because these are the times when the temperature is just right for them. The ideal temperature for most ticks is between 21-32oC / 70-90oF with 80% humidity.
This is why you find ticks in areas with long grass because the temperature and humidity are just right for them.
The hot summer temperatures can also affect ticks. During the summer, ticks are more active and can become engorged with blood faster. This is because the temperature is just right for them and they can survive in high humidity levels.
How To Prevent Ticks During Cold Weather
Preventing tick infestation during cold weather can be tricky. ticks are inactive at temperatures below freezing, but they can be active at temperatures above freezing if the ground is not frozen.
there are a few things that you can do to help prevent ticks from infesting your property during cold weather:
First, keep your property well-maintained. mow the lawn and clear away any dead leaves or brush. Tick populations are more likely to thrive in areas with dense vegetation so removing potential hiding places for ticks will help reduce the risk of infestation.
Keeping your property well-maintained also helps to remove potential food sources for ticks, such as small mammals.
Second, pay attention to your bird feeder – if you have any. If you have a bird feeder, be sure to clean up any fallen seed beneath it. Leftover seed is a potential food source for rodents, which can attract ticks to your property.
Lastly, You should also consider treating your property with an insecticide that targets ticks. Especially if you own pets that can be a source of warmth and sustenance for ticks during the cold season.
Many products on the market can be effective in preventing tick infestation.
You can also ask your veterinarian if you can give your dog a vaccination for Lyme disease which can be done as an effective measure yearly. Using a topical tick preventative, such as Frontline Plus or K9 Advantix, year-round is also another additional measure to protect your pet.
With proper prevention, you can help reduce the risk of ticks becoming active on your property during cold weather.
How To Prevent Ticks During Hot Weather
Summertime is a great time to get outside and enjoy the weather, but it’s also a time when ticks are most active. To help prevent ticks during hot weather, follow these tips:
- Wear light-colored clothing so that ticks are easier to see if they attach themselves.
- Tuck your pants into your socks so that ticks have a harder time getting onto your skin.
- Wear closed-toe shoes to protect your feet and ankles.
- Use insect repellent on exposed skin, including clothing. Repellents containing DEET are most effective.
- Check yourself for ticks after being outdoors, even if you’ve used repellent.
By following these tips, you can help prevent ticks during hot weather and enjoy your summertime activities!
When To Ask for Professional Help
If you are noticing an increase of ticks in your environment, it is important to know what temperature they become inactive. The temperature at which ticks become inactive is 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the tick population is growing and you are seeing more and more ticks, it is important to seek professional help. A professional will be able to help you identify the source of the ticks and help you get rid of them.
If you are not seeing an increase in tick activity, it is still important to be vigilant and check for ticks often. Ticks can carry diseases that are harmful to both humans and animals, so it is important to take precautions against them.
Ticks can be a major nuisance, not to mention a health hazard. It’s important to remember that ticks can survive different temperatures – some even survive -18oC / 0oF.
Their inactivity during certain temperatures is not a reason to lower your guards. In addition to using insect repellent and checking yourself for ticks after being outdoors, there are other things you can do to help protect your property from these blood-sucking pests.
If you’re noticing an increase in tick activity, it’s important to seek professional help to get rid of them before they become a bigger problem.