Plenty of ticks expected this year with new threat emerging

Environment

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — The number of tick reports has risen dramatically over the last several weeks.

As more and more people are headed outdoors, doing yard work and taking hikes, ticks are active too, so now is the time to start thinking about prevention.

“Adult stage ticks are active in April and May and they’re waiting for hosts to come by at about knee level,” Tom Mather of the University of Rhode Island’s Tick Encounter said Thursday.

Mather recommends having tick-resistant pants to try to keep these bugs from crawling up, which all ticks do.

Later in the spring, the poppyseed-sized nymph stage ticks come out. Spraying shoes with permethrin can repel the little ones, which often attach at shoe-level.

Daily tick checks are also important, including on the back of the neck, under the hair.

Mather said that a new kind of tick is emerging in the Northeast.

“We’ve been keeping an eye on this new Asian Longhorn Tick. It’s a new, invasive, foreign tick,” Mather said, adding that he’s noticed a high concentration in the New York and New Jersey areas, specifically on Staten Island. The Asian Longhorn Tick has also been spotted in Virginia and North Carolina.

Mather said it appears as though the tick is coming up the I-95 corridor.

“We don’t really know how risky it is. Unlike black-legged ticks that pick up their germs from rodents, this tick doesn’t seem to like to get on rodents,”  Mather explained. “The ticks have been known to attach to deer and dogs.”

The risks from native ticks are well-known, and Mather said they’ll be plenty of ticks this spring.

“It’s shaping up to be a season, in the springtime at least, more ticks than you’d like but not that many fewer than normal,” he said. “So it’s kind of running in the middle, but that’s already too many ticks for most people in Rhode Island.”

Learn More: URI’s Tick Encounter Resource Center »

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