Adult-stage female Ixodes scapularis (a.k.a. blacklegged or deer tick) Growth Comparison

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.