Tick Season, as measured by Google


(via Google Trends)

I’m not generally one to extol the virtues of enormous corporations, but one thing the tech giant Google does right is to share freely much of their bank of search data. Google Trends picks up tick season like clockwork, and searches for “ticks” peak reliably every May when North Americans find the little arachnids in numbers on their dogs and on themselves.

I bring this up as a long-winded way to point you to bug guy Eric Eaton, who has just posted an excellent, concise summary of what everyone who lives near ticks should know about the animals. Go read.

A questing dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis

A Questing Tick

My photographic project this evening was to capture one of the more endearing behaviors (or annoying behaviors, I suppose, for all you haters out there) of hungry ticks. The arachnids crawl to a high point- say, a blade of grass- and wave their legs about hoping to snare a tasty mammal. The habit is called “questing”, and here are a couple of the better shots:

Dermacentor variabilis - American Dog Tick
Dermacentor variabilis - American Dog Tick

update: Rob Higgins & Brian Allan point out that this male tick is questing not for a host per se, but for a host carrying a female tick.

photo details:
Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 200, f/14, 1/250 sec
diffuse overhead strobe


It’s Thursday night.  Here’s a tick:


Photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper