Where do ticks live and when are they active?

Of the many kinds of ticks that occur throughout the U.S., just a few regularly are pests of people and pets. The kinds of ticks that you may encounter depend upon your geographic location, the local ecology, the season and your activities.

Some ticks remain for most of their life on a single animal, but many others hide within or near the nests or burrows of their hosts when they’re not actively blood feeding. People would rarely encounter these ticks, but sometimes their animal hosts bring the ticks into the home. For instance, bats that roost in the attic or chimney may come complete with bat ticks (and yet other kinds of pests). Similarly, ground-dwelling rodents may bring their own kinds of ticks into homes and cabins. These ticks may wander into the human living spaces, particularly if their normal hosts have died or abandoned that roost or nesting sites. Many other kinds of ticks are active outdoors in areas of high grass, brush, around woodpiles, in forested areas, or even in deserts and around beaches. The brown dog tick can thrive and readily complete its entire life cycle within your own home, though this may not be its preferred environment.

Ticks are most active when the temperature is above freezing or considerably warmer. Some seek hosts during the cool and humid hours around dawn and dusk, but others are most active during the hotter and dryer conditions of the day.

Geographic distribution of ticks that bite humans

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