Many haematophagous ectoparasites use carbon dioxide (CO2) and host odour to detect and locate their hosts. The tick Ixodes ricinus (Linnaeus) (Ixodida: Ixodidae) walks only small distances and quests in vegetation until it encounters a host. The differential effects of CO2 and host odour on the host-finding behaviour of I. ricinus have, however, never been clarified and hence represent the subject of this study. The effects of CO2 and odour from bank voles on the activation and attraction of I. ricinus nymphs were analysed in a Y-tube olfactometer. Carbon dioxide evoked a response in the absence and presence of host odour, but did not attract nymphs. Host odour, however, did not evoke a response but did attract nymphs in the absence and presence of CO2. The current results show that CO2 is an activator, but not an attractant, and that host odour is an attractant, but not an activator, of I. ricinus nymphs, and provide ecological insights into the host-finding behaviour of I. ricinus.