Deer ticks start out no bigger than a poppyseed
Deer ticks have a two year life cycle with four life stages:
egg, larva, nymph and adult. Deer ticks become infected during their larval and nymphal
phases by feeding on small mammals and birds which harbor the
Lyme bacterium. Later in their development, the infected nymphs
and adults transfer the Lyme bacteria to animals and people
during feeding. The tiny nymphal deer tick is believed to
be responsible for up to 90% of human Lyme disease cases. Ticks
can transmit other disease to humans, including
ehrlichiosis (or angioplasmosis) and
Deer are the preferred host for the adult female tick. After a
blood meal, a female tick may lay up to 1,500 eggs, shown below.
Studies have demonstrated that the size of the tick population
is directly related to the size of the deer population. Deer do
not infect ticks with Lyme disease; deer ticks become infected
with the Lyme disease spirochete after feeding on an infected
mouse or other small mammals.
Deer ticks are slow feeders. A deer tick needs to be attached to
an individual for at least 36 hours before the Lyme disease
spirochete is transmitted. If the deer tick is removed within 24
hours, the chances of getting Lyme disease are very slim.
Dog Ticks also are prevalent in Connecticut; and should not be
confused with Deer Ticks.