Deer ticks, also known as blacklegged ticks, are just one of thirteen known tick species in Minnesota. They are most common in the east and central areas of the state and are found in hardwood forests and wooded and brushy areas. Deer ticks are potential carriers of Lyme disease, human anaplasmosis and babesiosis.
Primarily risks are from mid-May through mid-July when the smaller nymph stage of the deer tick is feeding. Risk is present, but lower, in early spring and again in the fall (late September-October) when the adult stage of the deer tick is active.
Risk Map (From the Minnesota Department of Health)
Deer tick bites
Check and re-check for ticks when you are in tick-infested areas.
- When in deer tick habitat, walk in the center of the trail to avoid picking up ticks from grass and brush.
- Wear light colored clothing so ticks will be more visible.
- Create a barrier to ticks by tucking pants into socks or boots and tuck long sleeved shirt into pants.
- Use a repellent containing DEET or permethrin, and carefully follow the directions on the container.
- After being outdoors in tick habitat, get out of your clothes immediately, do a complete body check, shower and vigorously towel dry. Wash your clothes immediately as to not spread any ticks around your living area.
- Pets should also be checked for ticks.
The risk of getting a tick-borne disease is small if the tick is removed soon after it becomes attached. Deer ticks must remain attached one to two days to transmit Lyme disease, and about one day for the other diseases.
- Take precautions when in tick habitat, but don't panic if you find a deer tick on you. Not all ticks are infected, and prompt tick removal can prevent illness
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick close to its mouth.
- Gently and S-L-O-W-L-Y pull the tick straight outward.
- To avoid contact with the bacteria, if present, do not squeeze the ticks' body.
- Wash the area and apply an antiseptic to the bite.
- Watch for early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
Lyme disease signs, symptoms and treatment
Please visit the Minnesota Department of Health's Web site for more information on this topic.
- Trouble With Ticks (Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine article)
- Deer tick identification (From Iowa State University)
- Tick-Transmitted Diseases (From the Minnesota Department of Health)
- Deer Ticks (From the Minnesota Department of Health)
- Lyme disease information (From the Minnesota Department of Health)
- The Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- Tick Management Handbook (Centers for Disease Control) (71 pages, 6.82 MB)
- The Lyme Disease Foundation
- The Minnesota Lyme Association
- American Lyme Disease Foundation