How bad are ticks in Massachusetts?

tick

Perhaps you haven’t thought about ticks for a while, but should you be?

If you ask someone, who has suffered a tick bite, they would probably say that ticks are pretty bad in Massachusetts. For those of us, who have not had an up-close and personal tick encounter, ticks might not seem such a bad thing. Massachusetts has only a couple of tick species at the time of this writing, but that does not mean that they are few in numbers. Nor does it mean that the ticks that are here are not a threat.

Deer ticks are bad in Massachusetts.

Deer ticks are the worst! Even though they are nothing new in Massachusetts, we are here to inform you that these nasty bloodsuckers are growing in numbers. What makes deer ticks bad? In a word or two – Lyme disease. If you live in New England, you have heard of this tick-borne illness, but did you know that deer ticks are also responsible for a rare, yet potentially fatal infection? Powassan virus is so rare, in fact, that Massachusetts has only had 31 confirmed cases since 2010. But to put that number in perspective, our state is second only to Minnesota in the number of infections of Powassan virus. Like chronic Lyme disease, survivors of Powassan can have lingering, lifelong illness. Some, who initially survive the infection, will die within a few years from complications left by the disease.

Not all ticks are bad, however.

Okay, yeah, they are at the very least gross. If you find a tick attached to your skin drinking your blood, it stands to reason that you will be alarmed. However, the fact that you have a deer tick attached does not automatically mean that you will become infected with Lyme disease or Powassan virus. An estimated 35 – 40% of deer ticks are believed to carry Lyme bacteria in Massachusetts. According to TickSafety.com, an estimated 5% of deer ticks carry Powassan. This does not mean that you should not protect yourself from tick bites.

No matter how you enjoy the outdoors, you must protect yourself from the threat of tick bites. There is no statistic that should dissuade you from employing tick bite prevention – never gamble on your health, or that of your family. As tick populations in Massachusetts soar, the need for tick control increases in kind.

Also read: Should I be worried about tick bites at my suburban home?
 

If you have questions about tick control for your home and family, get in touch with Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South at (781) 471-5793.