One of the biggest culprits in Pennsylvania for spreading Lymes disease is the deer tick. The Deer tick has a hard shell and telltale black legs. Since the deer tick is active at temperatures above 32 degrees, you can imagine that tick season begins as soon as temperatures are above the 32 degree mark. Once temperatures drop below 32 degrees, the deer tick hides in piles of leaves and other debris and goes dormant to wait out the winter. Because these ticks activity depends on the temperature, there is no set month that signals the start of tick season. If we have an unusually warm Pennsylvania winter,it could mean that the deer tick is active most of the year. If the weather drops below freezing early and we have a long cold winter, the tick season will be a lot shorter. Remember, if you are out hiking in the late fall or early winter, pay attention to the temperature. If it gets above freezing, you are going to want to check your body for ticks.
You can tell if it will be a bad tick season if the weather stays warm and if there are a lot of acorns. You see, juvenile deer ticks feed on mice. If there are a lot of acorns, it means that there will be more mice. As the number of mice increase, the deer tick larva will find more mice and the number of deer tick will increase significantly. During bad tick years, you will need to be extra vigilant in checking for ticks.