Blacklegged “Deer” Ticks active on mild winter days

Local News

Our mild days lately are great for getting outside, especially for walks, but it’s also waking up blacklegged ticks, better known as “Deer Ticks”.

The adult version peaks in the fall around October/November but these ticks are still out there now, including the females that carry pathogens like Lyme disease.

Nick Piedmonte is a SUNY ESF Masters Student who has been studying blacklegged ticks closely for about two years, including for the New York State Department of Health.

Piedmonte tells NewsChannel 9, “The issue is that people don’t realize they are still active after the cold winter we’ve had, they think like mosquitoes they get wiped out by the first frost, things like that.” 

He says you don’t have to be very deep onto a trail or in the woods to find blacklegged ticks.  They exist in urban areas like the Meadowbrook Basin Path in Syracuse where he’s found them during field studies.

“They’re a little sluggish during the colder weather whereas during the warmer weather they can crawl much faster and so even during a rainy day you’ll see some ticks out and questing and things like that and they’ll be active searching for hosts.”

Their bodies may be tiny but they have plenty of ways to attach themselves to you if you’re not careful. 

These ticks tend not to live on shorter grass like lawns but if you’re even next to more overgrown areas wear long pants tucked into your socks; your shirt tucked into your pants and always check yourself for them after being outside.
 

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