There are several methods for tick surveillance including both active and passive methods. These include tick drags and tick collections from animals.
Active surveillance is used to determine whether a species of tick is established within a certain area. Researchers collect tick specimens using various methods including flagging or dragging, collection from host animals and trapping ticks in carbon dioxide baited traps. Passive surveillance includes specimen submission to public health departments or disease surveillance laboratories by veterinarians, physicians and the general public. Lone Star Ticks can be identified in any of their three life stages: larvae, nymph, and adult. The larvae have six legs and when newly hatched are very small and yellow in color. Once a larvae transforms into a nymph, it has eight legs and is light brown in appearance. The adult female Lone Star Tick is an easily identifiable tick due to the white dot or 'lone star' spot on the back of a dark brown colored tick. The adult male is dark brown with white lines or streaks around the edges of their bodies (text from: http://labs.russell.wisc.edu/wisconsin-ticks/tick-surveillance/).