If there’s one thing your dog loves more than rolling in the tall grass in the summer, it’s playing in the giant piles of leaves that fill up your back yard in the fall, and on neither occasion is your pet – or you, for that matter – protected from the danger lurking nearby: ticks.
The risk of getting Lyme disease doesn’t decrease as the weather starts to cool. Quite the opposite, says Consumer Reports, indicating that, “by fall, adult ticks have had more time to become infected with disease-causing bacteria.” In some regions, up to 50 percent of the tick populations can carry diseases such as Lyme, compared to only 20 percent in the summer. As long as temperatures stay between 20 and 30 degrees, fall ranks as a high-risk time for the disease.
And even if there were a sudden drop in temperatures during the fall months, that would only bring the blood-sucking menaces closer to your home.
Compared to other regions in North America, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador has always had a relatively small tick population, with no permanent colonies living within its boundaries. The first sightings of ticks carrying the bacterium that causes Lyme disease took place in Cape Broyle in June 2001, and reports of people contracting the virus have been sporadic ever since.
But the situation has recently started to change, according to the province’s chief veterinary officer Hugh Whitney, who says they are finding more and more of the parasites every year, and a significant percent of them are Lyme disease carriers. “Fifteen years ago, we’d only talk about southern Ontario for Lyme disease in Canada,” Whitney declared for CBC Radio’s St. John’s Morning Show. “It’s considered to be a disease that is moving further north.” Having already settled in regions such as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, black-legged ticks are currently marching towards Prince Edward Island, which is expecting increased numbers this year.
Don’t let their tiny size and inconspicuous nature fool you: brown dog ticks are more than just a nuisance. With their vicious jaws and seemingly endless appetite for blood, brown dog ticks have earned a reputation as one of the least-loved insects in North America. Lurking in the tall grass, patiently waiting to drop onto unsuspecting mammals and start engorging themselves with their blood, the eight-legged arachnids can cause tremendous trouble for both animals and humans. Here we’ve put together some of the most important reasons why the brown dog tick is one of the most feared pests across the country.
#1. They are everywhere. Although they are most successful in warmer temperatures (20-30 degrees Celsius is optimal for egg-laying), the brown dog ticks have a world-wide distribution, being able to survive even in areas with frigidly cold climates. They are predominantly found in and around human habitations, dog kennels, and animal pens in urban, suburban, and rural environments, rarely being reported outside these spaces or in uninhabited regions.
There’s no better time than summer to enjoy the great outdoors, go camping, start gardening – or get bitten by nasty pests. Mosquitoes, bees and wasps, flies, ants, and other creepy crawlies all become more active in warm weather, taking out the fun of summer for many Canadians and prompting them to be constantly on alert.
But while most of summer pests are no more than an annoying nuisance, and their irritating presence can be effectively managed with simple measures, one category is downright dangerous. The blood-sucking, disease-carrying ticks are currently at their highest rate across Canada, becoming prevalent even in areas that were once considered low-risk, and putting all Canadians at greater risk of contacting the infamous Lyme disease.
Most Canadians regard Lyme disease as a very rare, difficult-to-get illness that only affects hikers who get bitten by ticks after venturing into deep woods.
The warm season is finally here, and homeowners across the country are in a hurry to store away the fur-lined coats and welcome warming temperatures, humming birds, and budding trees. But as nature awakens from its long winter hibernation, prompting us to make room in our hearts for sunshine, the rest of God’s creatures are doing the same – including the crop-ravaging, property-damaging, mood-ruining household pests.
If you were positive that there would be no way for spring pests to survive the deep freeze of winter, you have another thing coming. Although ants, termites, bed bugs, ticks, and other creepy critters do have their “breaking point,” cold temperature (or even sub-freezing weather) is definitely not one of them.
Over time, insects have developed several strategies for surviving the cold: some have antifreeze-producing capabilities while others burrow into warmer, highly-insulated areas, such as logs or the ground. Fire ants, for instance, which have invaded many regions in the U.S.