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Stay Alert: Ticks Can Still Pose a Threat in Winter

December 4, 2023

Experts warn that while most bugs die in the winter, ticks remain active and pose a growing threat as the climate warms. These bloodsucking pests are resilient to freezing temperatures and take advantage of temporary warm spells to seek hosts, including humans and pets.


The combination of abnormally warm weather and increased outdoor activities during nicer winter days contributes to a rise in tick encounters and the number of Lyme disease cases during winter months. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows an increase in emergency room visits for tick bites, particularly in the Northeastern United States.


While tick activity is expected to decrease during freezing temperatures, climate change exacerbates the situation. The National Climate Assessment report predicts that most areas of the U.S. will experience warmer temperatures, increasing the risk of adult ticks finding human hosts in winter.


To prevent tick bites during colder weather, experts recommend the following measures:


Thoroughly check yourself for ticks after outdoor activities.

  • Use insect repellent.
  • Wear lighter-colored clothing to easily spot ticks.
  • If you suspect a tick bite, place your clothes in the dryer before washing, as the dry heat can kill ticks.
  • If you find a tick attached to your skin and don't develop a rash, don't assume you're free from Lyme disease. Testing for Lyme can be complex, and the CDC recommends using a combination of antibody tests.
  • Protect pets by using a Lyme vaccine for dogs and applying tick-repellent liquids or administering oral medications.
  • Regularly check your pets for ticks throughout the year.


Remaining vigilant and taking precautions is essential, as ticks can still pose a threat even in colder weather.