Brutal Winter Weather Won’t Help With Ticks

Here’s some news that might ‘tick’ you off: though we’re well into spring – early April also means the beginning of tick season. And despite record snow and cold, there’s no indication it will have any effect on the bloodsucking bugs – or the diseases they spread.

Many of us consider winter a welcome respite from biting insects like mosquitoes, gnats, and especially ticks – though technically ticks are arachnids. Regardless, while we still have some time before the mosquitoes come around – now that the snow has melted, ticks are definitely out and about. So, if you were hoping one of the few ‘good’ things that may have come from this unusually harsh winter would be the decimation of ticks, you’d be sadly mistaken.

They are tough little critters – and there’s no evidence at all that cold weather conditions effect tick populations. In fact, a heavy layer of snow can provide a protective blanket for ticks on the ground. But with that blanket melted for the most part around here, the ticks are back.

There is some good news, however. According to the experts, it still needs to get a little warmer before they really get active.

“You’ll start seeing ticks when the temperature is consistently 60 degrees and above – even overnight,” said Keith Lacross from Braman Pest and Termite Elimination in Agawam. “The factors that play into that, again – the weather. They are a warm weather pest so when the snow’s gone, the temps rise, all your warm weather pests will start coming out and ticks fall into that line.”

One of the biggest concerns about ticks is that they spread Lyme disease. So unfortunately, spring in the Northeast won’t be a good one for those trying to avoid it.

Your best bet is to protect yourself: Wear long sleeves and long pants if you’re going for a hike in the woods, or even doing yard work, if you have tall grass and overgrowth. Also, make sure to use insect repellent on yourself and outdoor pets.

According to the CDC, Massachusetts had more than 3,800 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease in 2013 – the most recent year for stats.