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Experts warn tick season is upon us

Apr 01, 2019 12:15 pm
Bethany Bump is reporting for the Times Union on what to expect now that tick season is here. Adult ticks that survived the winter will now begin to emerge from their cold-weather homes. Experts cannot say for sure whether this year will be worse than last when it comes to the number of disease-carrying ticks crawling around, but most agree it does not really matter. "There will be infected ticks, either way," said Bryon Backenson, deputy director for the state Department of Health's Bureau of Communicable Disease Control. "We're never going to have a year with no ticks, so no matter what people should take precautions because it only takes one tick bite to transmit disease." Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Dutchess County, forecasts tick populations by observing the number of white-footed mice out and about in summer. Ostfeld is predicting a moderate to low number of infected ticks in the Northeast this year compared to last. Deer ticks live in shady, moist areas at ground level and cling to tall grass, brush and shrubs, usually no more than 18 to 24 inches off the ground. They also live in lawns and gardens, especially at the edges of woods and around old stone walls. Lyme remains the most common tickborne disease in statewide, followed by anaplasmosis and babesiosis. Read the full story in the Times Union.