Deer Tick and Ked Survey

Hello everyone. We are conducting a survey to learn what hunters know about deer ticks and keds and the diseases they spread. This research will help us better understand what hunters and the public in general know about the risk of tick and arthropod borne illnesses. It will also help us focus outreach and education efforts on the aspects of disease and public health that are widely unknown or misunderstood. This survey can be a great way for you to test your arthropod borne disease knowledge and figure out what you still need to research yourself.

Thank you all for your participation and all your help so far.

Here is a link to the survey.

If you still haven’t signed up for the 2019 portion of our deer tick and ked study, remember to visit our Order a Kit page and fill out the order form to receive your kit.

Deer Ked Publication

We have published an article about deer ked identification and distribution based on your contributions. You can access the article from the Journal of Medical Entomology below. If you cannot access the article you can email us at and we will send you a PDF version.

Deer Keds (Diptera: Hippoboscidae: Lipoptena and Neolipoptena) in the United States and Canada: New State and County Records, Pathogen Records, and an Illustrated Key to Species

Thank you for all your help on this and future projects. Collections are continuing in the 2019 hunting season and if you would like to sign up visit our Order a Kit page.

Deer Infestation Rate in Pennsylvania

Infestation Rate.jpg

Unfortunately, with such a large inventory of arthropods, processing has taken more time than anticipated. We do not have any major results to share at this time pertaining to infection risks or pathogen prevalence, but we can share some of the pest prevalence data we gathered from your submissions.

The three most commonly submitted parasitic arthropods were deer keds, blacklegged ticks, and winter ticks. The chart above represents the proportion of infected deer from the PA counties that returned kits in the 2018 portion of this study. The underlying gray layer identifies the counties known to have deer keds. Though these results are not fully tested or statistically analyzed, they do reveal an interesting pattern of parasite distribution and diversity across the state. Just as hunting opportunities and wildlife composition changes with location, elevation, and habitat, so too do the parasites and disease risks. 

We are so happy with the response and dedication people have shown for this study and we are excited to continue it in the 2019 hunting season. We are also expanding the scope of the study to Delaware and Maryland. We hope to have last year’s specimens completely analyzed by the end of this year and start on this year’s specimens immediately. Updates will follow. If you wish to participate again or missed the sign-ups last year please visit our Order a Kit page and receive your free sampling kit. We hope to hear from you.

Your 2018 Deer Ked Collection Response

Kit Request and Return Map.jpg

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2018 portion of our deer tick and ked study. We received hundreds of kits filled with arthropods from every corner of Pennsylvania, but especially from the Northcentral and Northwest regions. The arthropods submitted included nearly a thousand deer keds (Lipoptena cervi) and well over a thousand blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis). We are so grateful for the staggering response from hunters and hunting camps.

Above is a figure showing the distribution of kit requests and responses. Also shown are the locations of the deer processing stations we visited to collect parasites from hunter harvested deer. This year we are hoping for an even greater return rate from all around Pennsylvania as well as responses from Delaware and Maryland.

If you wish to participate, visit our Order a Kit page and sign up.

Pre-Order Ked and Tick Collecting Kits for the 2019 Hunting Season!

Thank you to those who participated in the 2018 deer ked and tick collection! We are still in the process of evaluating our data and we hope to get the results out to you soon.

In the mean time, we have opened up our signups for deer ked and tick collecting kits for the 2019 deer hunting season. Old and new contributors are welcome to participate! We have enough materials for 1,200 kits to be distributed between Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, so claim yours today before they’re gone!

If you would like to contribute to our project, please sign up here:

We would love to have you join us on this exciting project and we cannot wait to start sending out some kits! If you need a kit before we start mailing large amounts of kits (September 2019), then please let us know in the comments box when signing up for a kit. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

October 5, 2018

Deer Ked

Deer Ked

All of our 2018 kits have been sent out. We are humbled by the positive response of the hunting community to participate in this project. Thank you to all current participants and those that would like to participate in the future.

Blacklegged (deer) tick adult

Blacklegged (deer) tick adult

As hunting season continues, make sure you look for both deer keds and ticks. Remember, keds may look like ticks by they move much faster!

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the project or collecting samples. We would like to support our participants in any way we can.