Types of Ticks in Virginia

Blacklegged Tick
Ixodes scapularis

Transmits Lyme disease (Borrelia burdorferi and B. mayonii), Anaplasmosis, B. miyamotoi (a form of relapsing fever), Babesiosis (Babesia microti), and Powassan virus. 

Lone Star Tick
Amblyomma americanum

Transmits Alpha-gal Syndrome (Red Meat Allergy), Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, Heartland Virus, and Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI).

American Dog Tick
Dermacentor variabillis

Tranmits Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia.

Asian Longhorned Tick
Haemaphysalis longicornis

Not known to transmit disease to humans in the United States to date, but studies show this tick has the capacity to transmit disease.

Ticks Are Around All Year Round!

Ticks are active in Virginia throughout the year. Although there are many more during the summer months, the black-legged tick, which spreads Lyme Disease, is more commonly found in winter. Every day, including those warmer winter days, check yourself, your family, and your pets often.  Local urban tick surveillance in Central Virginia was conducted along trails, parks, and practice sports fields and playgrounds between 2019-2022. Tick types and stages aligned with the Virginia Public Health Department's figure below.

How to Identify Ticks

Use this tick identification chart from the Virginia Department of Public Health to identify the type and stage of your tick. Ticks with a frown face are most likely to feed on people, and stages with a red cross are the tick stage most likely to transmit disease.  Nymph and larva stages can be challenging to identify without a microscope.  

TickSafety.com provides more detailed information on identifying a tick, including images of when they are engorged. You can also submit a picture or text a photo to 703-828-4343 for free identification.

If you find a tick in Virginia, you can also consider reporting it and submitting it to the VDH Virginia Tick Survey. Since 2018, the Lone Star tick has been the most submitted in Virginia.  If bitten by a Lone Star tick, people can get Alpha-gal Syndrome, Ehrlichiosis, Heartland Virus, Rickettsia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI), and Tularemia. Click to learn about tick-borne diseases most common in Virginia.

Not All Ticks Carry Diseases, But Some Carry Many!