Blacklegged ticks are reddish-brown with very dark brown head, legs and shield. They look very similar to the brown dog tick (below), except the blacklegged tick has longer mouthparts.
Tick identification tip: they feed on a variety of mammals, including: humans, dogs, horses, birds, white-tailed deer, raccoons, white-footed mice and more.
A blacklegged tick usually takes at least two years to complete their life cycle, spending one summer as larvae, that winter and spring as nymphs, turn into adults in late summer. Females die the following spring after laying eggs.
It’s urgent to use tick identification on the blacklegged tick as it’s known to carry Lyme disease. In Minnesota, southeast, east central and north central area are at the highest risk to contract the disease. Most cases of Lyme disease occur in June and July from bites from nymphal blacklegged ticks.
Blacklegged ticks also carry: human anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan encephalitis. These are potentially severe illnesses that often begin with flu-like symptoms.