It has long been purported that opossums are a huge link in helping us control tick populations and tick-borne illnesses.
Some reports claimed that opossums can eat thousands of ticks in season. Others touted their ability to eat thousands in only one week. What is the truth – one of these claims or something in between? You might be surprised by the answer.
Researchers expected opossums to consume some ticks, but did they eat thousands of ticks?
To perform the study, researchers took 32 Virginia opossums from their natural habitats in sites throughout Centra Illinois. Upon collection, four tick species were identified on the bodies of the specimens. These included black legged, lone star, dog, and winter ticks. The opossums were collected in every season from 2017 to 2019, and included adult male and female, as well as juvenile male and female specimens.
Those involved in the study believed that they would find ticks as part of the standard diet of opossums, but not to the degree suggested by a 2009 study that led us to believe that a tick can consume thousands of ticks and larvae in a week’s time. The new study found no ticks in the stomach contents under a dissecting microscope. There were no tick parts, or anything suggesting a single tick was consumed by even one specimen.
Does this mean that opossums do not eat ticks?
This conclusion cannot be met. Further studies are necessary to answer whether opossums eat ticks as part of their regular diets, even in small quantities.
What animals do eat ticks?
Mother Nature has provided more than a few tick predators, including birds, frogs, lizards, and squirrels. Conversely, these animals can also become tick hosts – meaning ticks feed on their blood, and therefore a squirrel, bird, or lizard could carry ticks onto your property.
Get professional pest control in Austin for ticks.
Mosquito Squad of Greater Austin offers pest control for ticks in Austin, which is tried and tested – and approved by our many clients! If your property is prime tick territory, we offer an EPA-registered tick control formula, as well as a natural tick control spray for your yard. In addition, we have a tick control tube program that extends your tick-fighting effort from seasonal to all year long! We provide commercial and residential tick control throughout the Greater Austin area.
Trust Mosquito Squad, your tried and trusted Austin tick control company. Contact us today at (512) 488-5331.