By Haldimand Press Staff
HALDIMAND—The weather is now consistently warm as summer is approaching, but these nicer days have also meant the arrival of ticks.
There are two common types of ticks in Haldimand: the dog tick, also known as a wood tick, and the deer tick, also known as a blacklegged tick.
While neither is pleasant, deer ticks are especially dangerous in that they can carry Lyme disease.
Deer ticks are smaller and are only about the size of a poppy seed at full growth, before they have gorged on blood.
Dog ticks can be recognized by their white markings on their backs.
The Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) monitors tick levels in the region, such as by collecting deer ticks by dragging a large white sheet along the ground.
The results are then mapped. Active surveillance is meant to help the HNHU fill in some of the missing data about how these ticks have spread locally.
The HNHU no longer accepts tick submissions from the public at any of their offices for testing. The public is encouraged to continue to bring any attached ticks to their health care provider.
Risk areas in a region are determined through active surveillance. Once identified, the risk area is added to a Public Health Lyme disease map that health care providers can then refer to during their diagnosis.
Established colonies of deer ticks have been found in Long Point Provincial Park, Rondeau Provincial Park, and Point Pelee National Park. Smaller numbers of colonies have been identified in the Turkey Point area. Tick habitat includes wooded areas, marshlands, and tall grassy areas.
In 2019, HNHU said a new “risk area” had developed on the western border of Haldimand in the area of Hagersville, Jarvis, and Nanticoke, along with a second area centred around Dunn-ville in the east. It is important to remember that deer ticks may also be found outside of an estimated risk area and that not all deer ticks carry the bacterium that will cause Lyme disease.
For more information on ticks and Lyme disease, including personal protection measures, how to remove and identify a tick, visit hnhu.org/health-topic/lyme-disease.
Stay Tick Safe
- Stick to the middle of trails.
- Wear closed-toe shoes, long-sleeves, and pants.
- Pull your socks over your pant legs to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.
- Use bug spray containing DEET or Picaridin.
- Shower or bathe within two hours of being outdoors to wash away loose ticks.
- Do daily “full body” checks for ticks on yourself, your children, and your pets.
- Consult a vet about tick-preventative treatments for your pets.
- Remove leaf litter and other ideal living conditions for ticks, such as wood piles.
- Place tables and play equipment away from wooded areas, shrubs, and overgrowth.
The Press requested up-to-date statistics on tick numbers and Lyme disease cases in Haldimand, but did not receive the requested information as of press time.