With the instances of Lyme disease in New England increasing each year, there’s a fair amount of awareness out there as to the dangers of tick-borne illness. But there’s also a bit of a misperception that the weather can play in the tick life cycle; many of us assume the threat goes away once the snow falls and the temps drop. Unlike mosquitoes, which die off in the colder months, ticks survive the winter in a number of ways, depending on their species and the stage of their life cycle:
• Ticks can go dormant outside, hiding in leaf litter and woodpiles. Snow cover doesn’t kill them, but rather ads a layer of protection and insulation.
• They can survive inside your home, garage, car, or woodshed for months without requiring a meal, dormant in rugs, carpets, walls, and tiny crevices.
• They can latch onto a larger host. The blacklegged tick, which carries Lyme disease, stays active all winter long. They typically begin their feeding activity around the time of the first frost, and will latch onto anything from a mouse to a dog to a human, any day that temps are near to or above freezing.
When you’re outdoors, particularly during the milder spells of winter, it’s just as important to practice tick awareness and check yourself and your pet before going back inside.
There are other key steps to protecting yourself and your home during the winter months, including:
• Clear any lawn debris away from the house – leaves, branches, etc.
• If you have a woodpile, keep in mind that they’re often nesting and resting places for mice and other rodents, as well as ticks. Keep it well away from the house, and check logs carefully before bringing them inside.
• Remember that mice are the preferred host for most tick species; all the more reason to act swiftly at the first sign of them nesting in your home, barn, or garage.
• Check your pets regularly, and continue to give them regular doses of tick prevention medications.
• If you live near a wooded area, or enjoy walks in the woods, be mindful that ticks are often found on tree trunks and hardwood habitats.
Want to learn more about how to guard against ticks? Our team will create a plan for you to keep your home and family protected, 12 months a year. Chat with a live customer service representative on our website, or call us toll free at 877-742-2350!Tags: Lyme Disease, Ticks