An attached deer tick nymph is smaller than the lead of a pencil.
Get Treated Early!
If you suspect that you have Lyme disease, see your healthcare provider right away. Lack of treatment can result in complications in the months and years after infection.
Seasonal Tick Risks
The risk of contracting tick-borne disease from deer tick nymphs and adults varies by season.
Although deer ticks are inactive in freezing temperatures, and survive well under the snow, they may be seeking a host (an animal to feed on) in bare sunny spots in midwinter.
Once the snow melts, the adults that failed to find a host in the fall will be out in substantial numbers throughout the spring, dying off in early summer. This is the same time that dog ticks are out, so it’s important to be able to tell the difference between the two. Dog ticks don’t transmit Lyme disease.
The deer tick nymph season starts in early June, peaks in early July, and ends in August. The risk of contracting Lyme and other tick-borne diseases is highest at this time because the small nymphs (which are smaller than a sesame seed) are difficult to see and their bite is painless.
Risk is relatively low in August because the nymphs are mostly gone. Tiny larvae (smaller than the period at the end of this sentence) are hatching out at this time. They rarely attach to humans and are not infected with the Lyme spirochete (the bacteria that causes Lyme disease).
The nymphs that fed during the summer will molt to adult male and female ticks in late September. The adult season peaks at the end of October and the risk of Lyme disease again rises. Because they are larger, adult ticks are frequently seen and removed within the 36 hours it usually takes for the tick to transmit the Lyme pathogen (disease-producing microorganism). Because their hairy coats conceal attached ticks, dogs, horses and other domestic animals are at particular risk during the fall and subsequent spring. Few adult ticks are moving as temperatures near the freezing point.