Nonremoval drag sampling was conducted in multiple sites in Larimer County, CO, from March to July 2006 to determine the seasonal pattern of host-seeking activity by the human-biting adult life stage of the Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni Stiles (Acari: Ixodidae). Four sites, at elevations ranging from 1,790 to 2,470 m, consistently yielded host-seeking ticks. Ticks were active from March until late June; the length of the active period ranged from 84 to 104 d. Based on site-specific linear regression models of increase and decrease in tick host-seeking activity over time, densities of D. andersoni adults were estimated to reach 50% of their peaks between 2 and 11 April, to peak between 21 and 28 April, and to fall below 50% of the peaks between 24 and 27 May. The length of the periods with tick densities exceeding 50 and 75% of the peak was 43–52 and 21–26 d, respectively. Rapid increases in tick numbers in late March to early April followed a stretch of days with daily maximum temperatures exceeding 5°C, whereas rapidly declining tick numbers in mid- to late May were associated with daily maximum temperatures consistently exceeding 20°C and daily minimum relative humidity commonly falling below 20%. Densities of D. andersoni adults exceeded 50% of the peak when daily maximum temperatures were in the 16–19°C range and daily minimum relative humidity was >20%. Finally, tick seasonality may be adapted to local climatic conditions within Larimer County; site-specific daily maximum temperatures at the time of peak tick host-seeking activity in late April were positively associated with site-specific mean daily maximum temperatures for April.
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Vol. 44 • No. 2