The winter failed to put the freeze on a potentially deadly pest…in fact the blood-sucking parasite, which can transmit Lyme Disease, is on the “up-tick.”
The snow insulated ticks from the bitter cold, as well as provided ideal humidity for their survival. For that reason, more deer ticks are expected to be around this spring and summer, and therefore will likely increase exposure to Lyme Disease.
Entomologists said about 70% of human Lyme Disease cases are attributed to deer ticks when they are much smaller nymphs.
“We estimate about three-quarters of all the Lyme Disease cases are picked up right around the home…activities such as play, yard work, garden work,” Dr. Kirby Stafford, Chief State Entomologist, said.
To help control ticks, entomologists say people should spray around shaded areas, including rock walls because that’s where mice live, a favorite host for nymphal ticks.
From the Centers For Disease Control
While it is a good idea to take preventive measures against ticks year-round, be extra vigilant in warmer months (April-September) when ticks are most active.
Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks
- Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
- Walk in the center of trails.
Repel Ticks with DEET or Permethrin
- Use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
- Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.
- Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be found at http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.
Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
- Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
- Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs.
- Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks. (Some research suggests that shorter drying times may also be effective, particularly if the clothing is not wet.)