While ticks in the northeast are extremely common, they do have a period of time in which they seemingly disappear. Do you ever wonder why this is? There are numerous reasons for the tick population not being as intense as it was in the prior year, but every year there’s a drop off in tick sightings after a certain point. Where did the ticks go then?
That question is quite simple to answer. According to the University of Rhode Island’s Tick Encounter website, here’s why we aren’t seeing them right now:
- Some found hosts, grabbed a blood meal, and are now either growing into their next feeding stage or are laying eggs. Either way, they’re no longer host-seeking, and so, there are not as many left to get on you or your pet.
- Some dehydrated. Ticks lose body water every day that atmospheric moisture is below a certain threshold. If they don’t, or can’t, recharge, they’re toast! In particular, this summer’s hot, dry conditions have been great for beach-goers but not great for ticks.
- They got older! April, May, and June are the “tick-iest” months across America but ticks just get “worn out” physiologically as they go out to “work” everyday—looking or waiting for a host to pass by, only to have to crawl “home” to more moist leaf-litter or shade to re-hydrate—day after day after day. For example, after about 25 host-seeking cycles, American dog tick adults start to become more susceptible to losing body water; and of course the days in late June and July typically become drier, too. So, see #2 above…
- With decreasing day lengths after the June 21 summer solstice, some types of ticks are cued to start going into an activity diapause. They may still be out there alive but they’re not active, saving their energy reserves to overwinter and come back next springtime.
While ticks are at an all-time high during May, tick levels during the month of September drop to the lowest levels of the entire year. While this sounds great, it’s short-lived. By the end of September deer ticks will be back in full force and looking for their next blood meal. In addition to this time of year being the “slow time” for ticks, the dry, hot summer we’ve encountered also aids in keeping the tick population down. Ticks need moisture in order to survive the time between feeding, if they cannot find moisture they will dry up and die.
So, when you’re out and about in the yard or hiking, keep an eye out and be proactive against them. Make sure to treat your shoes and socks with tick repellent. Wear light clothing so you can more easily spot a tick which has decided you are its next meal. Make no mistake, even though you don’t see ticks at the moment and our drier than normal summer has undoubtedly reduced the tick population, ticks will still be abundant.
Keeping your yard tick-free is one way to reduce your likelihood of coming into contact with potentially disease carrying ticks. Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South can reduce the tick population within your yard by up to 90%! To find out how to keep ticks out of your yard for the remainder of the season, call us today at (781) 471-5793, or fill out our form below. We look forward to hearing from you soon!