Why Tick Populations are Increasing in New Jersey
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recently released its bi-annual Bug Barometer. This handy tool predicts pest activity based on weather patterns and pressure. Here in New Jersey, we’re right on time with spring and summer pests, with ticks being the main concern.
The Northeast went through a cold and wet winter with several heavy snowstorms. That’s behind us now. The temperatures have warmed up and moisture is pushing in from La Nina. As a result, ticks are already awake and active. With an increase in tick-borne illnesses, it’s easy to feel threatened by these tiny bloodsuckers. However, a bit of prevention goes a long way in protecting you and your family.
Why Tick Populations are Increasing
According to the CDC, there are over 30,000 cases of Lyme disease reported each year. Researchers believe that the growing number of ticks and tick-borne illnesses are due, in part, to global climate change. More warmth, more rain and rising sea levels can influence a tick’s life cycle. This isn’t the whole story, though. Let’s look at a few more reasons why tick populations are increasing.
- Longer seasonal activity. As long as the temperatures are above freezing, ticks can survive. With earlier springs and longer autumns in the Northeast, adult tick populations stay active.
- Greater reach. New construction neighborhoods are popping up everywhere. As wildlife is pushed out, it creates confusion. Animals like deer may still come around the place they knew as home, bringing deer ticks closer to people.
- Overpopulation of deer. White-tailed deer populations have seen a 1,000-fold increase in the past 100 years. Deer are a popular host for ticks, so it only makes sense that more deer mean more ticks.
- Changes in bird flight patterns. The change in weather patterns has affected flying mammals. Places that were once too cold for birds to live are now suitable. Ticks have no problem attaching to birds and traveling to new areas.
Keeping Safe from Ticks
Weather is unpredictable in the Northeast, so we don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t enjoy the summer! Awareness is key when protecting you and your family from tick-borne illnesses.
Here are some of the best steps to take to avoid ticks from ruining your summer.
- Use insect repellent. If you’re going to be outdoors for any length of time, especially near wooded areas, spray your clothes with an insect repellent. Those containing DEET are best, but natural options are helpful as well.
- Keep covered. The more skin you cover, the better. Opt for long sleeves and long pants. Tuck your shirt into your pants, and tuck your pants into your shoes
- Wear light-colored clothing. It’s easier to see a tick on light clothing compared to dark clothing.
- Use a dryer. If you suspect that a tick is on your clothing, place them into the dryer on high heat. Ticks can survive a washing cycle, but they can’t survive extreme heat.
- Have your yard sprayed. Use a pest control service to spray your yard. You’ll feel good knowing that ticks and other pests are naturally repelled from your space.
To get a hold on ticks that may be in your yard, call the exterminators at Heritage Pest Control. Our solutions are safe and effective for you and your family!