Tick season never really ends, and it never really begins. Many of the large ticks from last year are still active and in a couple weeks the small nymphal stage deer ticks will hatch.
2012 was one of the worst tick years in decades according to Dr. Thomas Mather, Director of the URI TickEncounter Resource Center. The program has been tracking ticks for 19 years. Mather explains, "We had some locations where the increase over the previous 5 year average was a hundred and some percent some places were 1800 percent higher than the year previous."
Now, with the nymphal stage deer ticks hatching by Memorial Day, now is the time to make a plan. Many recognize the larger ticks but it's the small ticks that can be more dangerous, since they are more likely to go unnoticed. "The small nymphal stage ticks and the adult sized ticks carry the infections that cause lyme disease and other infections that we have here, the issue is that the small nymphs just go unrecognized."
On top of Lyme disease, there is a new disease being tracked back to ticks this year. Borrelia miyamotoi has flu-like symptoms and a relapsing fever. Mather says, "we've actually known that it infects these deer ticks for the last four or five years we've seen it, we just didn't know it was associated with human disease."
Mather says now is the time to get prepared, an easy and affordable step is to spray tick repellent on all your shoes as ticks will latch on to your shoe laces and climb up your leg.