Deer Tick

Actual Size: Approximately 3 1/2 – 5mm

Characteristics: Oval body with brown to reddish-brown coloring and white-gray markings.

Legs: 8

Antennae: No

Wings: No

Habitat: Prefers to make its home in moist, shady areas. May be carried into homes on pets or clothing.


  • Also sometimes called the blacklegged tick.
  • Spring, summer, and fall are the seasons with greatest risk of deer tick bites.
  • Able to transmit Lyme Disease, the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S.

Deer Ticks in Mid-South TN

Deer ticks, also sometimes referred to as blacklegged ticks, are the main spreader of Lyme disease in the United States. Found across the eastern U.S., their distribution relies greatly on the distribution of the white-tailed deer. Both nymph and adult deer ticks are able to transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis. In 2018, there were approximately 23,558 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in the U.S., making it the most common vector-borne disease in the country.

Deer Tick Habitat

Predominantly found in humid, deciduous forests, deer ticks live in shady, moist areas, clinging to tall grass, brush, and shrubs, usually no more than 18-24 inches off the ground. Deer ticks also live in lawns and gardens, especially if the property is located at the edges of woods and around old stone walls. They’re not limited to these areas, though – they’ll live anywhere that offers a combination of plenty of shade and high humidity.

Deer Tick Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Deer ticks bite. This happens most often during spring, summer, and fall. If temperatures during the winter are above freezing, then adult deer ticks may still be out and about. Nymphs and adult females are the most likely to bite. 

To avoid being bitten, consider using an EPA-registered insect repellent with an active ingredient such as DEET. It may also be a good idea to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, preferably light-colored so ticks will be easy to detect. Tucking your pants into your socks can also help.

If you are dealing with deer ticks, it’s important to always enlist the help of a professional tick & mite control expert.