Peak tick season hits Capital District

November 09, 2017 06:26 PM

VOORHEESVILLE - Four quick sweeps with a tick mat Thursday morning produced 10 deer ticks. Two weeks ago, researcher Joellen Lampman collected 54 ticks and that was in just 20 minutes.

"Now is when the adults are most active.  We really have to be on the lookout," explained Lampman, of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Albany County.

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It's dangerous to only think about ticks in the summer.  Now, when it's both cooler and wetter, is the time that more of them are looking for an animal or human host.

"Lately we've seen it warm into December and an extension of tick season," added Lampman, "We've been seeing the tick population rising over the decades."

And that can translate to an increase in dangerous tick-borne illnesses. Rensselaer County provided the most complete data - with Lyme, anaplasmosis and babesiosis all jumping significantly. Anaplasmosis and babesiosis are actually down in Albany County, but the to date Lyme numbers aren't available yet.

Saratoga and Schenectady counties referred NewsChannel 13 to the state Department of Health, which could only share 2016 statistics, making a comparison impossible. However, DOH said Powassan cases doubled in New York State between 2016 and 2017 - with three of this year's four cases diagnosed in Saratoga County.

Snow is actually a good thing for ticks - it acts as an insulator between them and the elements.  So if we want fewer ticks next year we have to hope for a cold winter without a lot of snow.

"With our kids, our pets, ourselves - every single day we need to do a tick check, even if we haven't been out for three days."

The good news is ticks are actually easier to spot this time of year, because they are larger than they are in the spring or summer during their nymph stage.

More information:

Tips to protect yourself against ticks


Abigail Bleck

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