Have you seen it?
Adult female Lone Star ticks, the species’ namesake, display a bright yellowish-white dot at the tip of their scutum highlighted on a light brown body. Males (shown here) are also light brown, but their scutums are sometimes mottled with black and a few white streaks along their festoons. Both nymphs and six-legged larvae are brown and round; nymphs have long, straight mouth-parts, while larvae have shorter mouthparts. Be aware that all stages change in appearance and size as they feed.
Adults emerge in the early spring and remain active throughout the summer.
Engorged female Lone Star tick (top and bottom) shown here.
In May they are joined by nymphs (shown here), and in July by tiny larvae. Deer are the first choice for all stages, but they’ll also swarm the legs of humans and pets if given the chance. It is crucial to recognize Lone Stars because they are aggressive biters of humans and domestic animals and carriers of many germs including several types of Ehrlichia, tularemia, an unknown agent that causes southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), which can mimic Lyme disease, and rarely Heartland virus. Lone Stars do NOT transmit Lyme disease.