Warm weather to blame for early emergence of deer ticks
Amid unseasonably warm temperatures, deer ticks have been spotted throughout the metro area.
Official tick surveillance by the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MMCD) begins in April, so the majority of reports have been coming in from residents, according to Alex Carlson, Public Affairs Manager with the MMCD.
“It came a lot earlier this year,” Carlson said.
He added that MMCD staff did find deer ticks in Dakota County and Washington County this week. Deer ticks typically come out when the weather is above freezing, which means this week’s 50-degree temperatures and little to no snow cover created an enticing environment for the ticks.
“With these warm, mild temperatures more and more of them are going to survive,” Carlson said.
He advised that people should be taking early precautions against ticks, like applying tick prevention medicine to pets and checking kids after they play outside.
“Dogs are really the species we worry the most about carrying tick-borne disease,” said Kate Farmer, a Veterinarian with the Animal Humane Society.
She recommends using flea and tick preventative treatment now.
“Year-round is ideal. If nothing else as soon as the snow melts, is the best time to start,” Farmer said. “If your dog is bringing in ticks, dropping them in your house then you and your family can get those things too so it’s not just protecting your dog, it’s protecting your whole family.”
However, Minnesotans may get a break if it snows or if temperatures sink back to freezing, which would slow ticks down until later in the spring, Carlson said.