Ticks in New England

New England will always be linked to ticks due to the infamy of Lyme disease. In the 1970s, the first documented case of the dangerous disease occurred in Lyme CT. It was linked to deer ticks by researchers practicing in the town. Grassy areas within the city are still used as tick breeding grounds during the warm summers. Below is a brief overview of the types of ticks found in each state of the region.

wood tick / american dog tick
adult female dog tick
brown dog tick
deer tick
deer tick or black legged tick

Learn how to tell these ticks apart.


The most common types of ticks in Massachusetts are deer and dog ticks. Since they are no larger than seeds, these pests have the advantage of going unseen while feeding. They are found in wooded, damp, and grassy habitats, such as yards, parks, and forests, and are most active during warmer months. The pests attach themselves to humans and other animals to feed on their blood, which often contributes to the spread of diseases.


Since Connecticut’s climate is moist and residential areas are developed within and near forests, ticks are able to thrive. In the state, deer and American dog ticks (or wood ticks) are the most common species present. The types of ticks in Connecticut live in grass or foliage and feed on human blood.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire is home to the black-legged, the American dog, and the brown dog tick. Dog ticks are brown to reddish brown, while the black-legged variety are a muddy orange color. These pests average about one eighth of an inch in length but can grow up to a half inch when engorged with blood. Their preferred habitats are wooded areas and tall grasses, though dog ticks are particularly attracted to mowed grass with low vegetation. Ticks in New Hampshire tend to inhabit coastal regions and the heavily forested northern parts of the state.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island is home to numerous ticks including the black legged or deer tick, American dog tick, and lone star species. Commonly confused with insects, ticks are in fact arachnids, having eight legs instead of six when fully matured. The pests are active in late summer and early fall, feeding on the blood of people and animals. Each type of tick in Rhode Island carries numerous diseases and is a danger to both residents and pets.

Black legged ticks are known carriers of Lyme disease in addition to other harmful pathogens and bacteria. The pests are commonly found on white-tailed deer, which is why they are also known as deer ticks. Unlike black legged ticks, which are found in forested areas around Rhode Island, American dog ticks typically populate fields, trails, and tall grasses.  Though new to the area, the lone star tick is becoming a problem for Rhode Island residents. Found in both woodlands and dense undergrowth, this pest can also pass on Rocky Mountain spotted fever.


There are about 13 species of ticks in Vermont, and four of them are known to carry disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. The most common of these is the deer tick, also known as the black-legged tick. The three other types of ticks in Vermont that are potentially harmful to humans include lone star ticks, woodchuck ticks, and American dog ticks.

Deer ticks in Vermont transmit organisms that cause Lyme disease, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis. In fact, the state often has the most reported cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. due to these pests.

When Will They Be Active?

Through March to April, and then again between October and February, people may come across active deer ticks. While less mobile in cold weather, the adult pests do not overwinter. Adult dog ticks are more likely to be found during late April through August. In addition to differing activity periods, homeowners can distinguish between the two species by their appearances. Dog ticks are larger than deer ticks in most cases and also have visible white streaks near their heads. Watch for the pests in damp and humid areas, as well as land populated with deer.

Read about diseases that ticks can transmit.