Ticks are non-insect arthropod arachnids closely related to spiders, scorpions, and mites. They are important to humans because they feed on animals and can pass diseases to people, pets, wildlife, and livestock. In Montana, ticks are capable of transmitting several tick-borne illnesses to people:
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
- Colorado Tick Fever
- Tularemia (commonly known as "rabbit fever")
- Tick-borne relapsing fever
Ticks crawl up on low vegetation and wait for people or animals to pass by and brush up against them. Ticks are attracted to the odor, heat, and breathing of people and other animals. They attach themselves to the host by stretching their legs out towards the host and do not jump or fly. Ticks have 8 legs for crawling slowly and then holding on and no wings. In Montana, tick season lasts from the onset of warmer weather in the spring until about mid-July when warmer weather and low relative humidity cause the ticks to become inactive.
Left to Right Rocky Mountain wood tick: unengorged female, 1/4 engorged, 1/2 engorged and fully engorged.
The Rocky Mountain wood tick is the primary disease vectors in Montana. A soft-bodied tick that vectors Relapsing Fever has recently been found in Montana. The blacklegged ticks that are the primary vectors for Lyme disease are not known to occur in Montana.
Tick Bite Precautions
There are many precautions you can take to reduce your risk of being bit by a tick. Learn more
To Remove Attached Ticks
If you DO find a tick attached to your skin, there is no need to panic. Learn more
Diseases Carried by Ticks in Montana
The illnesses associated with these diseases can vary from mild symptoms treated at home, to severe infections requiring hospitalization for care, with the potential for death in rare cases. Early recognition and treatment of infection is important to decrease the risk of serious outcome. Learn more