Ticks on the rise as warmer temperatures sweep the Capital Region

Katherine Nadeau, Deputy Director, standing in the woods

From News 10 ABC, by: Matthew VanValkenburgh, Posted: May 18, 2021 / 01:38 PM EDT Updated: May 18, 2021 / 05:06 PM EDT

DELMAR, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Warmer temperatures are sweeping across the Capital Region and people are taking advantage of it. Hiking and biking trails are seeing a steady increase in traffic and while people are excited to spend their time outdoors, it comes with an increased risk of picking up a not-so-friendly hitchhiker.

“There were over 300,000 diagnosed cases of Lyme disease last year,” Says Deputy Director of Catskill Mountain Keepers Katherine Nadeau. “Those numbers seem to keep growing.”

They may be small, but they could pack a major punch. May is National Tick Awareness month and with an increase in outdoor traffic due to warmer temperatures, President of Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies Josh Ginsberg says we may be in store for a ticked-off season.

“The first thing is ticks come and go,” according to Ginsberg. “There are years where it is pretty horrible, and this year is one of those years,” he says.

Studying factors that may lead towards an increased tick population like climate change, landscape fragmentation, and the impacts it may have on the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, Ginsberg says they are seeing a widespread impact throughout the northeast.

According to Ginsberg, “Ticks are in places we didn’t see them before,” saying they are up in the Adirondacks now. “We have had cases of Lyme in the Adirondacks. We never use to have that and because of climate change and it getting warmer they are increasing.”

And while staying indoors all year long is an option, when heading out onto the trails the best way to avoid ticks is to be prepared.

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