PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Now that the weather is getting colder, you may think you're safe from contracting Lyme disease, which is carried by deer ticks – but think again. Ticks can be just as dangerous in the fall and winter months.
Tuesday and Wednesday, Dr. Thomas Mather of the University of Rhode Island easily collected enough ticks to fill several test tubes, even after the first hard freeze of the season.
Mather says that the ticks come out at the beginning of October, and their peak numbers are actually in November, after we typically experience the first winter frosts.
Ticks can survive throughout the entire winter, even if they are frozen in the ground for periods of time.
"They must produce some sort of antifreeze inside of themselves, because as soon as the ground thaws and they warm up again, they're back out and biting," said Mather.
This can put humans at risk of Lyme disease, which Mather says is especially common in ticks during the cooler months.
The Lyme disease rate in ticks is higher in the colder months because there are more adult ticks around, and they have had more opportunities to bite other infected animals during the summer and fall months.
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