Thinking about enjoying the great outdoors this winter? Remember to bring the tick repellent.
Ticks, once considered a spring and summer nuisance, are now a year-round problem in New England.
“Tick season is pretty much every season,” says Dr. Thomas Mather, a tick expert at the University of Rhode Island. “They live through the winter. That's when their activity is at a peak.”
MORE DEER, MORE TICKS
“We think of deer as the reproductive host for these blacklegged ticks," Mather told Boston 25 News reporter John Monahan.
The ticks stay on the deer for 5 to 7 days. After filling up on blood, they drop off and stay under leaves and snow, where they hibernate until spring.
If there is little to no snow cover and temperatures rise above freezing, it is possible to find an active adult tick searching for a host on a warm winter day, according to experts.
The adult blacklegged deer tick poses the greatest threat for humans and pets. Not only are they widespread in the northeast, but nearly 50 percent of them carry Lyme Disease
STOPPING THE SPREAD
Jim Tappero is helping reduce that threat. He is a hunter and is often invited into people’s backyards to hunt deer.
Tappero showed Boston 25 News some video of deer from cameras he set up in yards where he has permission to bow hunt, and it highlights the exploding deer and tick problem.
Like Tappero, there are many other hunters looking for homeowners with deer problems, and social media has made it easier for hunters to pair up with homeowners.
"Hunters meeting people who need hunters, that's an issue," Tappero added.
For non-hunters, Dr. Mather urges residents to take other precautions as the temperatures drop, like covering up skin with long sleeves and pants and applying repellent. He also recommends keeping pets on tick preventatives year-round.
Story re-posted from Boston 25 News. Written by John Monahan.