With Phrases like “big Lyme disease year” “above average tick populations” and “Lyme numbers will be up this year,” being thrown around; it looks like ticks and Lyme Disease will continue to be a big problem in the Northeast in 2021. With a trifecta of factors, including the pandemic restrictions, a mild winter, and a looming humid summer – we may be in for a doozy.
COVID’s Impact on Ticks
Peak tick season is from April to June – however, ticks remain a threat all summer, fall, and even into the beginning of winter. Ticks have been a massive and steadily growing problem in Massachusetts since the turn of the century. If there is one thing we wish COVID-19 could have slowed down, it would be tick population growth and the resulting spread of Lyme Disease. Alas, we were not so lucky.
The Northeast’s Lyme disease epidemic is likely to continue.
In fact, it is beginning to look like ticks were able to spread more disease in 2020 due to folks having more free time to spend outdoors. While they won’t have final numbers in for a few years, it does appear there was around a 6% increase in exposure to Lyme disease in 2020.
This increase is a combined analysis of a higher volume of tick bites and a larger percentage of ticks testing positive for the Lyme disease bacteria.
2021 Tick Season
However, after a warm winter and the expectations for above-average rainfall this summer, Pests.org reports an above-average tick population forecast.
Combine more ticks with more people heading outdoors to get relief from COVID-enhanced cabin fever, and we can expect more 2021 Lyme disease cases than usual.
Limiting your risk for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases is as simple as avoiding tick bites. However, don’t become a hermit. The Bay State has so much to offer – get outdoors and enjoy – but be sure to stay educated about Lyme disease prevention.
- Follow tick safety guidelines.
- Know the symptoms of Lyme disease.
- If a tick does bite you, follow safe tick removal protocol.
- If a tick does bite you, have it tested.
- Keep your yard free of tick-attracting conditions.
- If you are showing signs of Lyme disease, don’t assume it is COVID-19. See your doctor for testing. Early treatment is important to lower the risk for chronic Lyme disease.
At Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Massachusetts, we hope everyone can get outdoors and enjoy time together again. If you’d like to avoid dealing with too many ticks on your property, call our team today for a free tick control quote.