Ticks out as weather warms up

HOWARD – With the weather starting to warm up, there is a concern for ticks.

May through August is generally considered the height of tick season.

DNR forest health specialist Linda Williams says ticks are back.

“This would be a good example of what you might expect to find ticks in, it’s kind of longer, taller grass,” said Williams. “I’ve picked three ticks off myself so far this season, just in the last couple days.”

Williams says ticks become active once temperatures reach 50 degrees.

“A lot of people assume that with our severe winter that we just had, that the tick population would have been decimated. But ticks overwinter on the ground, under the snow, and they’re very protected by that snow. So they did just fine this winter,” said Williams.

Deer ticks and woods ticks are commonly found in Northeast Wisconsin. And experts say deer ticks can carry Lyme disease.

“It does often show up as arthritis-type issues in folks, but there can be a variety of symptoms, often the first symptom that people might notice is the large bull’s-eye spreading rash,” said Williams.

Veterinarians say pets are at risk too. High numbers of wood ticks can attach to dogs. Deer ticks can cause Lyme disease as well.

At Packerland Veterinary Center, Dr. Brian Broekman says he started treating tick cases about a month ago.

“I would say, I personally have probably pulled off maybe a dozen or so. Clients that tell us they’re already started to pull them off as well,” said Broekman.

So what can you do? Williams says ticks can be seen better if people wear light colored clothing and tuck their pants into their socks.

“Ticks do not climb trees, they stay on the ground, they might climb weedy plant material, but they do not climb trees, and so they do not drop out of trees, onto people, and they do not jump,” said Williams.

According to the state Department of Health Services, there are about 3,200 reported cases of Lyme disease each year. That’s about six times higher now than it was ten years ago.

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