Deer Ticks Benefit from a Warmer Winter in New England

Posted by Mosquito Squad

December 20, 2023

Deer ticks, also known as blacklegged ticks, are the most common tick in Massachusetts and can transmit Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and other dangerous diseases. According to WBUR, average temperatures in New England are rising faster than average.

As winters in the region become milder, adult deer ticks are becoming more active at a time when they're typically dormant, increasing the risk of tick-borne illness. All it takes is temperatures hitting 40 degrees and above for adult deer ticks to emerge looking for a blood meal.

"'It's becoming a year-round, check-yourself-for-ticks situation,' said Dr. Toni Lyn Morelli with the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center."

Active tick surveillance is not a normal winter activity. However, the lab at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station tests ticks dropped off by residents. From December 2022 to late February 2023, 275 tick samples were submitted to the lab, "much more than past winters."

More winter activity will naturally result in more ticks in total. Humans can and must learn to live with these pests. Deterring ticks and protecting ourselves from tick bites to lower the risk of tick disease is imperative.

How Can I Protect Myself from Deer Ticks?

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from deer ticks:

  • Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when hiking or spending time outdoors in tick-infested areas.
  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET.
  • Conduct a tick check frequently, especially after being outdoors, even in winter.
  • Safely remove any ticks you find.
  • Monitor yourself for tick-borne disease symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of Lyme disease?

The most common symptoms of Lyme disease are:

  • A circular rash at the site of the tick bite
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes

If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor right away. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, but if not treated early, it can cause serious health problems such as Chronic Lyme.

Reducing tick bites is the best method for lowering the risk of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Massachusetts is your tick control partner. In addition to educational materials for tick safety and how to reduce ticks on your property, we also provide a highly effective tick control program that works to reduce ticks on your property all year. Call our team today (774) 234-4611 to get a free quote for tick control. Now get outside, and enjoy this great Bay State.