Every question I answered was about ticks. This one is a Lone Star Tick, not to scale (they are much smaller). Ticks are probably most well-known as carriers of Lyme disease, and populations are on the rise in New York. Changing weather and climate patterns could be partly to blame. Growing seasons are getting longer, and ticks have more time to develop. Range expansion is another likely factor that coincides with increasing deer and mice populations. These animals pick ticks up in one area and carry them to new un-infested locations.
Typically by August, it is too hot and dry for ticks to seek hosts by questing, an interesting behavior where they crawl up grass. Joellen Lampman, School and Turfgrass iPM Extension Support Specialist with the NYSIPM Community program, has not observed the usual summer decline in dog tick and black-legged tick questing behavior this year. Ticks like to quest when humidity is greater than 85%, and 2017 so far has been favorable.
Ticks are a concern because of their ability to transmit, or vector, human diseases. Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are often in the news, but others are also of concern, depending on tick species.
Protection from biting insects and ticks is an important part of prevention. Choosing the right repellent is an important step in the process. Consumer Reports has a useful article that reviews insect repellents to help you choose the right product.