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Warm Spring Weather Brings Out Various Species of Ticks

By Diane Lee, Public Information Officer, Garrett County Health Department

With the arrival of warm weather in Garrett County, we should expect and be prepared for the reemergence of ticks. Several species of ticks are known to the area and have been waiting out the snow and freezing temperatures to appear. Local species include what is commonly known as the Deer Tick or Black Legged Tick (Ixodes scapularis), the Dog Tick (Dermacenter variabilis), and the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum).

Each of these species can carry one or multiple pathogens that can affect humans and animals. The most common pathogen is the bacteria that causes Lyme’s Disease. Data collected from the Companion Animal Parasite Council shows that in 2012 one out of twenty dogs tested positive for Lyme’s Disease, and in 2020 one out of five dogs tested positive. It is important to treat your household pets with a vet-recommended treatment to prevent ticks from catching a ride into your home and to protect your pets from a painful and life-threatening disease.

Most ticks follow the same general life cycle, progressing from larvae to nymph to adult. Adults are active in the late fall and spring, nymphs emerge in the spring and can be found throughout the summer, and larvae hatch in the summer and are active until fall. Once the snow melts and temperatures rise, be on the lookout for adult and nymph staged ticks on your pets and yourself when spending time outside.

The Office of Environmental Health is performing ongoing tick assessments and surveys to be able to share what risks are associated with ticks in Garrett County. Check in at garretthealth.org/ticks/ for current information as the tick surveillance program develops.