Tick waiting for host

Tick waiting for host

Sorry to say this, but it’s time to sign up and get ready for the tick invasion starting this spring

Make no mistake about it: we’re going into springtime this year under the threat of a good-sized explosion in our tick population, including lone star ticks and black-legged deer ticks. This means potential harm from Lyme Disease., Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis and an allergy to red meat (it sounds funny until it affects you.) The humble dog tick will also make a huge jump in population. This outbreak is probably due to a number of factors including weather, availability of food sources, previous year’s population growth, etc.

Once ticks come out of dormancy from the leaf litter in woodland areas and other sites where they overwinter, they will begin immediately searching for their first blood meal.

Last summer there was a huge problem with people being attacked by numerous miniscule Lone Star tick larvae on their ankles which caused itching and numerous red bite marks. This was often blamed mistakenly on chiggers (chiggers do not exist this far north.) This was a real problem

The ticks we see on Long Island find hosts through a behavior known as “questing.” A tick will wait on vegetation such as weeds, shrubs, forest verge usually about 2 feet high or slightly taller, extend its’ clawed limbs outward and wait for a host to pass by. Ticks can’t jump or drop down onto their hosts, they simply hang on to a host as it passes by.  Adult ticks like to find large animals (such as us) to use as hosts. Ticks are able to wait for very long periods to find hosts and they also use other techniques to choose sites and prey, sucj as detecting carbon dioxide exhalations from mammals and seeing areas where movement is common (pathways.)

We recommend setting up a treatment program for this season at your property starting in mid-April into early May to treat the appropriate areas and reduce tick populations. We usually recommend a minimum of 3 treatments annually. It is also important to check yourself, your kids and your grand-kids after taking woodland walks or being outside in the yard for extended periods.

In any case, Lyme disease or no Lyme disease, nobody likes to get bitten by a tick. Spray programs at this time of year and throughout summer into fall can be very effective. Call Fox Tree Service today to arrange an arborist to check your property and set up a program.