Deer ticks live for several months without a host, and females only attach to three hosts in a lifespan of about two years. Males often only attach to two and die shortly after mating. They only attach to each host for a few days.
Ticks have three major stages of life, and females feed once during each. They hatch as larvae and live about two months before attaching to other hosts, often mice. They then live through the winter before becoming nymphs. The nymphs attach to other hosts, then drop off and become adults. Female adults feed at some point over a period of months, then drop off and lay their eggs.