Ticks and White-Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer may have less to do with transmitting tick-borne diseases than many people think. Small rodents like white-footed mice are highly effective at transmitting disease to ticks, which can pass it on to humans and their pets.1  Deer, by contrast, rarely transmit diseases such as Lyme Disease to the ticks they host. This has earned them the nickname of "dead-end" or dilution hosts by researchers.2  However, because deer provide a blood feast to reproducing adult ticks, they do play a part in maintaining tick populations.