Toronto’s Blacklegged Tick Surveillance Says They’re Taking Up Residence
As Toronto and surrounding areas begin to experience warmer weather, more of us are camping out again. This is great after being cooped up all winter away from freezing conditions. Unfortunately, not everything about warmer weather camping is amazing.
The biggest problem with this? Blacklegged ticks are the ones known to carry Lyme Disease which can have a long term impact on health.
So what are black-legged ticks exactly; And how should you prevent yourself and your loved ones (including your pets) being bitten and potentially infected?
What Are Blacklegged Ticks?
Blacklegged ticks are commonly known as deer ticks. They are a species of tick commonly found throughout the east coast of the United States as well as south-eastern Canada.
These ticks are a hard-bodied variety commonly found in wooded areas. They mostly feed on the blood of white-tail deer but are known to feed on rodents such as mice as well. They can be incredibly resilient and are known to stay active in low temperatures (which is why Toronto makes for ideal breeding grounds).
Besides posing as a nuisance, the Blacklegged species is particularly troublesome for its status as a vector for multiple diseases, Lyme Disease being the most well known.
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme Disease is a bacterial condition. This condition can have a lifelong impact once a person is infected. The disease is caused by the Borrelia Burgdorfer strain of bacteria.
It is commonly transmitted to humans through the Blacklegged tick, but can also be transmitted via other tick species. If left untreated, Lyme Disease can eventually begin to affect your central nervous system, heart, and joints.
Usually, it is required that the tick stay attached for more than 24-hours for transmission to occur. The longer it is attached the higher the chances of infection.
Know the Common Signs of Infection
- Fever and chills
- Stiff neck
- Muscle and joint pains
- Circular rash (also known as a bull’s eye rash)
The Best Way to Prevent Infestation in Toronto?
Your best course of action is to be pro-active. There are three easy steps that can get you moving in the right direction; that is, toward year-round protection from Blacklegged ticks in Toronto.
Step 1: Understanding the Issue
The first step to preventing an infestation is understanding that ticks are not a seasonal issue. They can come out anytime the weather is above freezing, even during the winter months.
So, while tick infestation tends to be more problematic during spring and summer simply because more people are out, this means it is possible to be bitten by ticks throughout the year.
Step 2: Take Personal Preventative Measures
Check Yourself and Family
If you are camping or if you regularly hike or jog along trails, make sure to take the proper precautions. Stay on the trail and out of wooded areas where ticks are commonly found. It is also important to wear long pants so the creatures can’t get to your legs.
Check Your Pets
Pet owners, check your pet for ticks when in a wooded area or before you let them into your home. Ticks especially hide in dark areas such as under collars, behind and inside ears, and between paws for dogs.
Step 3: Hiring a Professional
Proactive pest management is the best way to get ahead of ticks and keep an infestation from spreading. This means contacting pest control services to spray your yards where ticks can be a danger to your family and pets.
These ticks can be life-threatening so preventive measures should always be taken. Before you have a problem, we recommend following these steps and taking the initiative of hiring a professional to ensure you and your family are safe.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert and a regular guest on HGTV. He is renowned in the industry as an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions. Mackie and business partner Sandy Costa were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.