A 2-yr study was conducted in a northwestern Florida state park and recreation area to determine tick species composition, seasonal abundance, and spatial distribution. Risk of tick attachment to park visitors was also assessed relative to tick abundance from several habitats. Tick collections consisted of weekly cloth drag samples obtained from ground and emergent vegetation along a deer trail, a walking trail located in a 3-mo-old control burned area of forest, a nonburned walking trail, picnic area, and campsites. Sampling was conducted from February 1994 through February 1996. Ticks collected during the study were as follows in descending order of abundance: Ixodes scapularis Say, Amblyomma americanum (L.), A. maculatum Koch, and Dermacentor variabilis (Say). Significantly more (<0.05) adult ticks were recovered from vegetation compared with ground samples only for I. scapularis. Adult questing I. scapularis were collected from October through May (peak December). A. americanum adults were collected from March through August (peak May). Adult A. maculatum were collected during August and September and adult D. variabilis were collected July and August. Larval and nymphal stages of questing A. americanum were collected from June through November (peak July) and February through October (peak September), respectively. A. maculatum nymphs were collected from February through April, June, and September (peak March). No nymphs of I. scapularis were collected. Only four larvae of D. variabilis were collected during the study, all during February 1995. No I. scapularis or A. maculatum larvae were collected from vegetation or ground drags. The greatest risk for tick attachment was in campsites where ≈60% of all adult and nymphal host-seeking ticks were collected. The next greatest risk area was the walking trail located in the control burned area where an additional 28% of ticks were obtained.
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