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Information on Ticks in OhioCommon ticks found in Ohio

There are about a dozen species of ticks that have been identified in Ohio.  However, most species are associated with wild animals and are rarely encountered by people.  Three species, the American dog tick, the blacklegged tick and the lone star tick, are among the most likely ticks to be encountered by people or pets and are described below.  All three of these species are of significant public health importance and are responsible for nearly all tickborne diseases reported to the Ohio Department of Health.

Take action to decrease your risk of infection.  Wear repellent containing up to 30 percent DEET, check your body daily for ticks and limit your exposure to ticks and tick habitats.

American dog tickAmerican dog tick diagram

Name:  American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis).

Distribution:  American dog ticks be found throughout Ohio.

Habitat:  Found mostly in grassy fields, clearing and other areas with little tree cover.

Hosts:  Small rodents and medium-sized wild mammals, domestic cats, dogs and humans.

Transmits:  In Ohio, the American dog tick can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and, rarely, tularemia.

Active:  April through September.

Comments:  Adult females are the most likely to bite humans.

Blacklegged tickBlacklegged tick diagram

Name:  Blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis).

Distribution:  Blacklegged ticks have been submitted to the Ohio Department of Health from 61 Ohio counties.  It is most common in the eastern and southeastern counties, but is likely to occur in suitable wooded, brushy habitat throughout the state.

Habitat:  Found most in wooded and brushy areas.

Hosts:  White-footed mice, deer mice, chipmunks, shrews and white-tailed deer. Blacklegged tick distribution in Ohio

Transmits:  Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan virus disease.

Active:  In Ohio, blacklegged tick activity fluctuates throughout the year.  After laying low during the cold winter months, these ticks usually become active in late March or early April.  Their peak activity typically occurs in May and June when the nymphs are looking for a host.  Tick activity increases once again in October and November when adult ticks are looking for another host before cold winter temperatures set in once again.  Although blacklegged tick activity typically follows this pattern, it is important to note that these ticks might be encountered at any time of the year when the temperature is above freezing.

Comments:  Adult females and nymphs are the most likely to bite humans.

Chart: Activity of blacklegged tick stages in Ohio

Lone star tickLone star tick diagram

Name:  Lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum).

Distribution:  Lone star ticks are found throughout Ohio, but are more commonly encountered in the southern half of the state.

Habitat:  Woodlands with plenty of undergrowth.

Hosts:  Squirrels, raccoons, deer, cattle, some bird species, dogs and humans.

Transmits:  The lone star tick is responsible for transmitting ehrlichiosis in Ohio.

Active:  April through September.

Comments:  A very aggressive tick that bites humans.  The nymphs and adult females most frequently bite humans and transmit disease.  Larvae cannot transmit disease.

What time of year are you more likely to encounter ticks?

While some ticks, such as the blacklegged tick, can be active nearly all year round in one stage or another, most encounters with ticks occur in spring through mid-summer and again in fall.

Contact information

Ohio Department of Health
Bureau of Infectious Diseases
Zoonotic Disease Program
246 N. High St.
Columbus, OH  43215
Phone: (614) 752-1029
Fax: (614) 564-2437


Page Updated:  06/06/2018

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