The snow has melted, temperatures are rising, and it feels like spring is in the air in the Lake George Region. Unfortunately, as the weather transitions from winter into spring, you can expect tick season to kick off in full force this year.
Last spring, tick season began earlier than usual because of the hottest recorded winter in history. Rather than show up in April, deer ticks, the type that carry Lyme disease and other maladies, became much more active in March.
A similar story is predicted for this coming spring in the Lake George Region. Due to this year’s warm winter, we should prepare for a prolonged tick season.
Indeed, deer ticks, the most dangerous kind, don’t die off during winter unless there are extremely cold temperatures. Since this winter was warm and above freezing many times throughout the season, deer ticks are likely more active and searching for hosts.
A longer tick season means a greater chance of getting infected by Lyme disease. Once tick season is underway, experts believe the number of reported cases of Lyme disease will start to rise.
For 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that the number of reported cases of Lyme was about 4,000 in New York State, second only to Pennsylvania. An article by NPR noted that throughout the entire Northeastern U.S., the number of reported cases has nearly tripled since the early 1990s.
In the same NPR article, ecologists Rick Ostfeld and Felicia Keesing stated that climate change and deforestation over the past few centuries are major factors in the spread of Lyme disease. Mice, the transmitters of Lyme disease, have seen population growth, and so have deer, which spread ticks throughout the Northeast.
As we approach the warmer seasons in the Lake George Region, now is the time to refresh your memory about how to prevent and handle tick bites.