Saskatchewan’s tick population has become active earlier this year due to an early snowmelt and unseasonably warm temperatures.
Normal weather patterns generally keep them at bay until later in the spring, according to Neil Chilton, tick researcher at the University of Saskatchewan.
Ticks start seeking a host when the temperature hits around 3 C, according to Yvonne Tiessens, a veterinarian with All West Veterinary Clinic in Saskatoon.
“There is a certain amount of revulsion associated with ticks, and everyone is worried about tick-borne diseases,” she said, noting her clinic checks animals for Lyme disease and other tick-borne pathogens.
The chance of a human getting Lyme disease from a tick is low, according to Chilton. Only one in every 1,000 ticks that are submitted to Chilton are Blacklegged ticks, which can carry the disease. Only 10 per cent of those are capable of spreading it to humans.
“There are a lot of myths surrounding pulling ticks out,” Tiessens said.
A gentle tug should be enough to remove one, and burning them or poking them with a pin is not advised. Routine checks for ticks after outdoor activities can help prevent them from becoming attached to the skin.
“They take a while before they decide whether they’re going to attach to someone or not,” Chilton said. “Usually they’ll walk around for an hour or so. You’ve got time to check yourself over.”...http://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/ticks-bite-early-due-to-spring-heat-wave