While the lone star tick has been found in all of our neighboring states, it has never been officially documented in Vermont. Each year people use the Tick Tracker to report lone star ticks, but we need to get a closer look to confirm.
why do we want to find them?
Lone star ticks can transmit diseases that we don't see very often in Vermont, like ehrlichiosis and tularemia. They are also more aggressive than other types of ticks. While most ticks wait in grass or brush to grab on to people and animals who pass by (called questing), lone star ticks also actively track down a host by following the trail of air the host breathes out. If we can learn more about where they might be, we can help Vermonters take steps to stay healthy. Learn more about tickborne disease in Vermont.
If you think you found a lone star tick, save it and follow these steps:
- Look closely at the tick and compare it to these images of a female (with distinctive single white spot) and male lone star tick:
- If your tick looks like a match, put it in a small, crush-proof container (like an empty pill bottle) with a moist cotton ball or piece of paper towel.
- Print and fill out this form (if you don't have a printer, write all of the requested information on a blank piece of paper).
- Mail the tick and the form to:
Project Lone Star
108 Cherry Street, Suite 304
Burlington, VT 05401
Can't mail it? Fill out the form and send it along with a clear photo of the tick on a white background to AHS.VDHProjectLoneStar@vermont.gov.
Lone star ticks have three life stages: larvae, nymph and adult. In all stages, the body of a lone star tick is typically rounder than the body of other ticks commonly found in Vermont. Adult lone star ticks do have some key features that make it easier to identify them.
|Female adult||male adult|
|Has a characteristic single white dot on its back||Has spots or streaks of white around the outer edge of its body|
Lone star ticks can be found in woodlands with lots of undergrowth and areas with tall, shaded grass. They also live in areas where animals live or bed down, like meadows, fields or grassy patches in the woods. They like to feed on deer, turkeys, dogs, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels and cattle.
Lone star ticks are found all around the southern and eastern United States, but haven't yet been officially documented in Vermont.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Although we don't have any documented lone star tick sightings in Vermont, we know they are likely to be active here from April to September. Unlikely blacklegged ticks that stay active through November and can even come out on warmer winter days, lone star ticks aren't active in the fall or winter.
If you do send us a lone star tick, we'll be sure to let you know. But if you send something that isn't a lone star tick, we won't reach out, and we won't be able to identify other critters that are sent to us.
Vermonters are great at getting the word out, especially when it comes to ticks and tickborne diseases. Want to spread the word about Project Lone Star in your community? Download and print the Project Lone Star poster and put it up in your town. Together we can find out for sure if we have lone star ticks in Vermont!