Lone star ticks produce one new generation each year. They are considered to be a ‘three host tick’, which means that each stage; larvae, nymph, and adult will all feed on a different host. Larvae and nymphs like to feed on the blood of birds, rodents, squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons. Adult lone star ticks prefer to feed on larger animals like foxes, cattle, white-tailed deer, and dogs. All three stages of lone star ticks will feed on people. This species of tick also enters into a non-feeding stage from mid to late summer that is brought on by the decrease in daylight .
Each female produces 3,000-8,000 eggs that are placed under leaves and soil in the mid to late spring. The eggs will incubate for about 30 days and then the larvae will hatch and find and feed on a host for 3 to 7 days. The larvae will then drop from the host onto the ground and shed their skins 9-27 days later. Nymphs then emerge and attach themselves to another host and feed for up to 38 days. After detaching from their host they take a rest for 13-46 days before shedding their skins and becoming adults. The adults attach themselves to a third host and feed for up to 24 days and detach and lay their eggs 7-16 days after their last blood meal.
While not known to transmit Lyme disease, lone star ticks are known carry a variety of diseases that can be transmitted to people including:
-Rocky Mountain fever