Tick Surveillance

To determine effective management strategies, it is important to first monitor your property for the presence of ticks. If ticks are abundant, you may have already found them on yourself, children, or pets. In some instances, tick infestations go unnoticed and you may need to utilize some tick surveillance strategies to detect their presence. When conducting tick surveillance be sure to always wear personal protection.

Be Tick-Aware

  • Learn if ticks and tick-borne diseases are prevalent in your area.
  • Learn to recognize potential tick habitat and hosts.
  • Check yourself, children, and pets regularly for ticks.

Monitor Favored Hosts

  • Although the deer tick may feed on a wide variety of hosts, two of its favored hosts are the white-tailed deer and the white-footed mouse.
  • Take note that if these two animals are prevalent on your property, ticks may be abundant as well.

Perform a Tick Drag

  • A tick drag is constructed of a piece of heavy white or light-colored cloth, flannel, or corduroy (usually 1m x 1m) attached to a wooden dowel or broom stick.
  • To perform a tick drag, the drag is swept across vegetation (typically from ground level to around waist height). Inspect the flag regularly (approximately every 30 seconds) for collected ticks.
  • To have your collected tick identified, see How to Submit a Tick.

 Other Surveillance Techniques

  • Tick researchers often use other surveillance techniques including carbon dioxide-baited traps and collection of ticks from hosts or host burrows/nests.