The diurnal questing behavior of adult Ixodes scapularis Say and Amblyomma americanum (L.) were monitored in the field to determine whether ticks would be collected with greater frequency during certain times of the day and under certain ambient meteorological conditions. Temperature and relative humidity explained a significant amount of the total variation in tick collections. Although both species were collected during every period, I. scapularis adults tended to quest earlier and later in the day when temperatures were lower and relative humidity higher, whereas A. americanum were collected with greater frequency in late morning and early afternoon during periods of higher temperatures and lower humidity. Questing of I. scapularis adults was observed at temperatures as low as -0.6°C, whereas no adult A. americanum were collected below 4.4°C. The questing temperature threshold for I. scapularis adults observed in this study was below that reported previously. The implications of these temporal activity patterns on the assessment of disease transmission risk and sampling bias are also discussed.
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Vol. 38 • No. 2