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Pennsylvania To See Influx Of Ticks

Jennifer Smith

Posted on March 29 2019

An exceptionally wet 2018 followed by a wetter than normal winter this year could make this spring a very bad one for ticks across Pennsylvania.

“The exceptionally wet weather in 2018 could favor exceptionally large populations of ticks this year, increasing the threat of Lyme disease and other pathogens they transmit,” explained Dina Fonseca, director of the Center for Vector Biology in the Department Entomology at Rutgers–New Brunswick.

Despite a few extremely cold periods during winter, the generally above average temperatures throughout much of the season did nothing to suppress tick populations.

“Thanks to residual winter moisture and predicted rain ahead for most of the U.S. this spring and summer, pest populations are expected to spike earlier than usual,” according to the National Pest Management Association’s bi-annual Bug Barometer.

In the northeast, including Pennsylvania, noted NPMA, a cold, rainy spring and early summer will allow ticks to thrive due to favorable humidity, and will keep rodents indoors as they look for warm, dry conditions to nest.

Following a wet winter, and with a rainy spring and summer ahead, pests like ticks, mosquitoes and termites will thrive thanks to humid conditions, and others will be driven indoors in search of food and shelter.

Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for NPMA, cautioned, “Continued precipitation predicted for most of the country this upcoming season will allow pest populations to continue to thrive and multiply.”

Residual winter moisture will create ideal conditions for mosquito larval habitats to form in standing water, and will allow termite populations to flourish. With a rainy summer also predicted, expect increased cockroach and ant pressure as they move indoors for shelter.

The NPMA offers the following tips for avoiding tick bites:

  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes when outdoors, especially in wooded areas or tall grasses.
  • Choose light colored clothing that makes it easier to spot ticks and other insects.
  • Wear a bug spray containing at least 20 percent DEET when outdoors, and reapply as directed on the label.
  • Take steps to keep your yard tick-free. Keep grass cut low and remove weeds, woodpiles and debris, which can attract ticks and other pests.
  • Check yourself closely for ticks after being outdoors.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of tick bites, such as a telltale red bull's eye rash around a bite. If you suspect a tick has bitten you, seek medical attention.
  • Learn the symptoms of the most common tick-borne illnesses and consult with your doctor immediately if you believe you are ill following a tick bite.

Story re-posted from Penn Live. Written by By Marcus Schneck