What will the tick population be like this year in Maine?
Insect and health experts are calling for the perfect storm this year for tick populations to reach an all-time high. Specifically, Maine's mild winter in 2021 not only allowed ticks to emerge earlier than usual, but allowed mice to thrive, which are the principle host for hungry ticks. As these blacklegged ticks (deer ticks) look for their next meal, it is much easier to take lyme disease from mice and transport it directly to humans when it’s time for their next blood-meal.
Unfortunately, Maine is one of the high-risk states, due to our abundant forests and attractive spring/summer climate. Most homes in Maine have woodland edges in their backyard, but these deer ticks can also be found on the edges of fields and suburban landscapes.
When should I be most worried?
An adult, female deer tick will feed on a white-tailed deer, or household pet in the fall or spring and can deposit up to 3,000 eggs in late may-early June. This year, due to the mild conditions, this is likely to happen as early as April. The riskiest time to be aware of lyme disease from April all the way until September.
What is lyme disease and why should I be aware of it?
Lyme disease is typically caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, rash, and headaches. If gone untreated, it may attack tissues, including the heart and nervous system. This can lead to an immune response that is similar to arthritis. The difficult part is that lyme disease usually develops 6-36 months AFTER a person receives a casual, infectious tick bite. On top of this, tick bites are painless and you won’t immediately know that you’ve been bitten. Ticks are well equipped to avoid getting caught by injecting an anesthetic into the skin at the point of entry, which helps avoid detection, so it can continue feeding unnoticed. Most who get lyme disease don’t recall being bitten at all.
What can I do to avoid ticks?
Regularly trimming your lawn and staying out of the woods are a good start. However, if you must go out exploring, using a chemical repellent with DEET can help. Wearing light colored clothing can help spot them easier, and you should always tuck your pant legs into your socks. This look isn't in style, but you’re closing the door to ticks getting to your skin. You should check your kids and pets daily in the summer, especially if they have been outside.
Lastly, Green Shield Pest Solutions is well equipped to treat ticks and give you the peace of mind to play outside without issue. To speak to a Green Shield Pest Solutions representative, you can give us a call at (207) 619-1003, email us at email@example.com or fill out the form HERE.