WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)— As the temperatures start to climb heading into spring, unwelcome pests start to climb up our legs.
Eyewitness News is talking about ticks that are already being seen in the area and our warm winter could impact the ticks in the season ahead.
Frigid temperatures are often said to kill many insects and bugs that thrive throughout summer, but that isn’t necessarily true for the blood-sucking tick
“So it’s a myth that ticks go away during the winter time they’re actually out year around. their behavior right now is called questing, they are looking for blood meals right now, ” said Dr. Jeff Stratfod a biology professor at Wilkes University.
Those meals become more available as people head outdoors.
“More people will be going out in the springtime and being exposed to ticks. so they’re always out there, it’s just a question of how many people are out there as well,” Dr. Stratford continued.
But warm weather isn’t the only factor in modifying tick behavior snowfall also plays a big part and we’ve seen very little.
“The lack of snow will do two things. one it decreases survivorship of ticks, but it also makes them go out questing for meals,” added Dr. Stratford.
Without snow to push ticks to feed on mice and deer they have been more active around us instead.
“People being more exposed to ticks, could be more offset by fewer of them. but then you also have that issue of having more hosts available for reproduction,” explained Dr. Stratford.
Ticks are known to be prolific Lyme disease carriers but warmer temperatures could mean more ticks and more disease.
“There’s a few other diseases that are working their way up north with climate change as well. as well as new tick species, we have some invasive ticks that are expanding into our area,” said Dr. Stratford.
If you’re headed to explore the outdoors this spring be mindful of your surroundings.
“As I advise my students in the field, they should always tuck their pants in their socks. it may look goofy, but that’s one of the best ways. and always check yourself after a hike,” says Dr. Stratford.
If you find a tick on your body, you can have it tested for Lyme disease for free as a Pennsylvania resident.