Lone Star Tick

Lone star tick larva, nymph, adult male and adult female

Overview

Lone Star ticks are found mostly in woodlands with dense undergrowth and around animal resting areas. The larvae do not carry disease, but the nymphal and adult stages can transmit the germs causing Human (Monocytic Ehrlichiosis), Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and ‘Stari’ borreliosis. Lone Star ticks are aggressive human biters, and their bite is associated with the development of a red meat (alpha-gal) allergy in some people. Read more about Lone Star ticks.

Growth Comparison Chart of Nymph stage Lone star ticks
Growth comparison chart of adult female lone star ticks

Field Notes

Adults are active April-late August and can be found questing for larger animals, such as dogs, coyotes, deer, cattle, and humans on tall grass in shade or at the tips of low lying branches and twigs. Females are easily recognized by a single white dot in the center of a brown body, with the males having spots or streaks of white pigment around the outer edge of the body. Females require a week to 10 days or more to engorge and can lay 2,500-3,000 eggs. Nymph stages typically are questing a bit lower and latch on to hosts from shoe to shin level—but they crawl fast so that by the time you might notice them, they’re already waist-high. Larvae typically latch on by the hundreds, and a good way to get them off quickly before they attach is with sticky duct tape.

Adults are active April-late August and can be found questing for larger animals, such as dogs, coyotes, deer, cattle, and humans on tall grass in shade or at the tips of low lying branches and twigs. Females are easily recognized by a single white dot in the center of a brown body, with the males having spots or streaks of white pigment around the outer edge of the body. Females require a week to 10 days or more to engorge and can lay 2,500-3,000 eggs. Nymph stages typically are questing a bit lower and latch on to hosts from shoe to shin level—but they crawl fast so that by the time you might notice them, they’re already waist-high. Larvae typically latch on by the hundreds, and a good way to get them off quickly before they attach is with sticky duct tape.

Life Cycle Stages

Select a region to see how seasonal activity and diseases carried by this tick change across the country.
  • Adult Female

    adult female lone star tick
    Top
    • Northeast Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • Southeast Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • Mid Atlantic Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • New England Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • South Atlantic Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • Northwest Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • Southwest Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

  • Larva

    Larval Lone Star tick
    Top
    • Northeast Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      No known diseases in this region at this time.
    • Southeast Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      No known diseases in this region at this time.
    • Mid Atlantic Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      No known diseases in this region at this time.
    • New England Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      No known diseases in this region at this time.
    • South Atlantic Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      No known diseases in this region at this time.
    • Northwest Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      No known diseases in this region at this time.
    • Southwest Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      No known diseases in this region at this time.
  • Nymph

    nymph lone star tick
    Top
    • Northeast Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • Southeast Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • Mid Atlantic Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • New England Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • South Atlantic Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • Northwest Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • Southwest Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

  • Adult Male

    Lone Star adult male
    Top
    • Northeast Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • Southeast Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • Mid Atlantic Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • New England Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • South Atlantic Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • Northwest Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

    • Southwest Central Region

      Encounter Risk

      Jan
      Feb
      Mar
      Apr
      May
      Jun
      Jul
      Aug
      Sep
      Oct
      Nov
      Dec

      Known Diseases Transmitted

      • Human Ehrlichiosis

        Ehlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii (bacteria)

      • Tularemia

        Francisella tularensis (bacteria)

Dig a little deeper