Ticks and mosquitos are commonly regarded as inactive during the cold months. The question is often asked, if the winter is harsh enough can it wipe out an entire tick or mosquito population in that area? The answer is, no matter how low temperatures sink, how high wind speeds get, and how much snow falls…mosquitos and ticks will return when it is warm again.
By way of explanation about mosquito winter conduct, here is an excerpt from an About.com article, written by insect expert Debbie Hadley, titled, appropriately enough, “Where Do Mosquitoes Go In Winter?” :
“Some mosquitoes lay winter hardy eggs which lie dormant in the soil until spring. In late summer or fall, the female mosquito lays her eggs singly in areas where the ground is moist. The eggs hatch when conditions become favorable again, usually in the spring when temperatures begin to rise and sufficient rain falls.
“Certain mosquitoes can survive winter in the larval stage. All mosquito larvae require water, even in winter. As the water temperature drops, it induces a state of diapause in the mosquito larvae, suspending further development and slowing metabolism. Development resumes when the water warms again.”
So what is going on with ticks in the winter? Of the three types of ticks most prevalent in New England – the dog tick, Lone Star tick, and deer tick – the first two primarily hunker down in leaf debris and dirt when the temps go below freezing. Depending on winter weather, this isn’t necessarily the case with the deer tick – which is the tick that transmits Lyme disease.
Following, we provide more information on deer ticks and cold months, with this information taken from a story, “Does ‘killing frost’ kill deer ticks?”, found on the website of one of our favorite tick information resources – the University of Rhode Island TickEncounter Resource Center:
“If you think that recent nighttime temperatures dropping into the 20’s is going to kill off the adult deer ticks crawling just about everywhere these days…well, think again! The killing frost may finish off your garden and the pesky mosquitoes that have remained around, but not the deer ticks. These ticks just don’t die from the cold.
“Instead, they typically retreat daily into the leaf litter to stay hydrated. Then, they’ll climb back onto knee-high vegetation any time temperatures are above freezing, hoping to latch on to a passing deer, dog, cat, or human. To some, these ticks seem tough; they’ll be out there until the ground freezes. And they’ll be back as soon as it thaws….”
Please click here to view the full story.
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