Adult-stage female Ixodes scapularis (a.k.a. blacklegged or deer tick) Growth Comparison
Adult males and females are active October-May, as long as the daytime
temperature remains above freezing. Preferring larger hosts, such as
deer, adult blacklegged ticks can be found questing about knee-high on
the tips of branches of low growing shrubs. Adult females readily attack
humans and pets. Once females fully engorge on their blood meal, they
drop off the host into the leaf litter, where they can over-winter.
Engorged females lay a single egg mass (up to 1500-2000 eggs) in mid to
late May, and then die. Larvae emerge from eggs later in the summer.
Unfed female Blacklegged ticks are easily distinguished from other ticks
by the orange-red body surrounding the black scutum. Males do not feed.