While spring certainly brings us green grass, flowers and warmer weather, with that comes a variety of less-desirable critters. Annoyances such as mosquitoes, black flies and ticks are back on our radar and in many cases are more plentiful this year as opposed to others.
Milder winters and earlier spring seasons (was it that early??)bring an early onset of Ontario’s black-legged ticks, the primary vectors of the Lyme disease bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.
CBC News reported that the Algonquin Animal Hospital in Nepean has been busy since early April, plucking ticks from people’s pets.
“To already be pulling ticks off in early April is just incredible,” the veterinarian said. “I see this being an incredibly active year for ticks, especially because we’ve seen so much already of the lyme that we’re diagnosing by our blood tests.”
As avid birders, most of us cannot wait to get out and explore Mother Nature’s beauty during the spring, but as ticks become more of a concern, there are certainly more precautions we should all be taken before heading out into the field.
Where Ticks Live
To generalize, ticks are often found in tall grassy areas closely situated for wooded or forested areas. This being said, you could very well come into contact with ticks during routine outdoor activities around your yard, working in gardens, leaf litter or shrubs.
For the most part, these insects are not terribly hard to find, but with the proper precautions, you can greatly decrease the risk of a bite.
Avoiding Tick Bites
- Proper attire is your best bet – long pants and long-sleeved shirts
- As an added precaution you can pull your socks over your pant legs when walking through tall grass.
- Use insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin.
- Wear light colours so ticks are easily visible.
- Conduct “full body” tick check daily on yourself, your children and pets. This often is a full-body wipe down and a thorough inspection of your pets. You will want to check them head-to-tail and on their underside.