With warmer weather arriving, people are getting excited about spending more time outdoors in nature. The pandemic has made the warmer months even more desirable for people looking to get out of their homes. Being outdoors is great for health in a variety of different ways. It can help boost immunity, reduce stress, and relieve some symptoms of mental illness. But when you’re outdoors, there are some pests that can be a real nuisance. One of those pests is the tick.
Ticks are found in the wooded areas that many people like to frequent in the summer months. But they aren’t just an annoyance. Ticks, primarily black-legged and deer ticks, can harbor bacteria that can cause diseases such as Lyme disease. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid going outside, but knowing what to expect from the 2021 summer tick season will help you be better prepared to avoid contracting an illness from a tick bite.
What months are tick season in the US?
Although tick season ranges across the country, the beginning of tick season is in April. In some areas of the country such as the Midwest, ticks will begin to pose problems in late April, whereas the Northeast will see tick season begin in mid-April. From April through to October, ticks will thrive in the wooded areas they live in. October typically marks the end of tick season; however, the Northwest may see tick season last into November.
What type of climate is needed for ticks to thrive?
The climate has a big role in tick populations and activity. Certain conditions are better than others for allowing ticks to multiply and spread across a region. This is why some years are better for ticks than others. Ticks tend to thrive better in humid environments, so when a year is hotter and wetter than usual, tick populations grow.
This can also occur when summers are longer and warm weather lingers, because tick season can last longer than it’s supposed to or has in previous years. When the warmer weather does last, ticks are able to latch onto human hosts much more easily and spread into more human-dense areas.
Will 2021 be a bad year for ticks?
Experts are predicting 2021 to be a bad year for ticks in all areas of the country. Tick populations are predicted to be larger than they usually are and weather conditions across the country will make us more accessible to tick populations. This is because most states are in for warmer and wetter conditions then they usually are in summer. These conditions are what drive tick populations to become more prevalent.
Tick population and activity by region
In the Northeast, the area which Lyme disease is found most often, it’s predicted that tick populations will be larger than they usually are this year. The southeast area of the country is estimated to be experiencing a cooler spring and summer, which means that tick season is not likely to last any longer than it usually does. The tick population in this region is estimated to stay in line with trends across the country.
The warmer weather in the Midwest is what is going to lead to a longer tick season. That, combined with the wetter conditions the area is expected to see, will lead to ticks being in more areas than they usually are. The humid weather in the southwest area of the country is making desert areas more livable for ticks. However, the summer is likely to be drier than it usually is here, which will protect the Pacific Coast from tick intrusion. In the northwest area of the country, temperatures are expected to be a lot warmer than they usually are, making the climate prime for active ticks.
Although 2021 is expected to be a bad year for ticks, there are things you can do to help protect yourself and your family from getting bitten by an infected tick. While you are outside enjoying the great outdoors, make sure you are wearing the proper clothing. Garments that are light-coloured and loose make it harder for ticks to access your skin; you can also see them better on light coloured clothes. Wearing a bug spray with DEET can also be helpful in avoiding getting bitten by a tick. If a tick does happen to latch onto you or one of your family members, be sure to remove it promptly and carefully to avoid any disease transference. And remember – as long as you’re careful, bad tick season does not have to make for a bad summer!