Wet Weather Could Mean More Summer Ticks (199)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– Cool, wet weather now may result in a larger than normal tick population in Tennessee this summer, a University of Tennessee entomologist said Thursday.

 Dr. Reid Gerhardt said if ticks are not feeding on an animal’s blood, they must absorb water through rain or moisture in the air to survive. Populations usually drop sharply as dry, hot weather dehydrates the insects.

 Recent UT field tests in Crossville show more ticks than usual are surviving into June. The reason may be because they are getting plenty of water, Gerhardt said.

 “Ticks can tolerate wet weather much better than they can stand hot, dry weather,” Gerhardt said. “Normally, we would have had a month of warmer, drier weather by now, which causes the insects to start dehydrating.”

Most ticks are usually gone by August or September, but continued rain could extend their season, he said.

 “I think the wet weather will probably cause us to see more ticks later in the summer because right now they are dying out more slowly,” Gerhardt said.

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 Contact: Dr. Reid Gerhardt (423-974-7135)