Ticks in the Winter
We hear more about ticks in the spring and summer months; but rarely do we hear about tick activity in the winter. Do they die? Do they move elsewhere?
While ticks are most active in the warmer months, they are still active in the winter if temperatures rise above freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit). In the winter, ticks will seek warmth by attaching to a warm blooded mammal, such as a dog or cat, and feed off them. They will also seek shelter underneath leaves and logs - which is why it is highly suggested that homeowners do not move firewood close to the home to avoid ticks wandering into houses.
Because temperatures fluctuate in the winter, it is advised that pet owners check pets for ticks and safely remove the tick with a tick removal tool.
Some types of tick species, including the Eastern Black-legged Tick, remain active year-round. Keep close watch of ticks on pets when they come inside from playtime.
Dog Ticks a Concern
Food sources for deer are lacking in the wintertime; and because of this, deer keep coming back to properties hoping for home garden goodies. Of course, there won't be any organic food available for humans (or deer) until Spring. What we don't realize is that deer ticks are active when temperatures are above 32 degrees Fahrenheit; and as the temperatures slowly increase this winter, ticks are a concern for individuals and their pets.
By keeping deer away from our yards with fencing, we are reducing the number of deer ticks reaching our pets. Dogs and cats are able to obtain Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses just like their owners. After dogs return from outdoor playtime or walks, pet owners need to check the bodies of their pets for ticks, especially around the ears and legs.
If tick bites occur, it's important to know how to remove a tick from pets. Ticks will need to go out for testing and dogs will need to be evaluated for possible Lyme Disease by a veterinarian.