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‘Ask Evan’: “Are ticks active in the winter months too?”

This week's 'Ask Evan' question has to do with ticks.  Tracie S from Carlisle.  Tracie asks, "I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in march 2018. I was not walking in tall grass or out in the woods. I was told I was probably infected (bitten) in January due to the pattern of symptoms I had. If ticks are present in the winter,  what should we do to protect ourselves in the winter, and for summer?"

The simple fact is, yes, ticks are around throughout the year.  While the numbers are much higher during the warmer weather months of summer, ticks can be on the move all 12 months of the year.

Some scientists estimate that about 20 percent of ticks will die during the cold weather months.  However, the reality is-- ticks are "hard-wired to survive."  They can bury deep into leaves in the winter and they will even dry out their bodies to withstand colder temperatures.  Some types of ticks can be active if the air temperature is above 45 degrees, and if the ground is not wet or icy.

So, during the winter-- if air temperatures rise above 35° f, you should take precautions to avoid tick bites, just as you do in summer months.  Use a tick repellant or bug spray with DEET on exposed skin.  Wear long pants and tuck your pant legs into your socks, and do a thorough check for ticks as soon as you return indoors.

Keep in mind that pets that go outdoors can carry ticks back home, too-- so check them.  Homeowners should also be aware that ticks could hitch a ride indoors on firewood, especially if it has been stacked outside in the vicinity of deer, mice and other rodents.  Once inside the home-- ticks can survive for months in carpets, walls, wooden floors or in tiny crevices before requiring their next blood meal.

So, don't let your guard down. If you've been outside take precautions and when you come in for the day take a shower and thoroughly check your entire body.

If you have questions you'd like to ask send me an email at AskEvan@FOX43.com.  Put 'Ask Evan' in the subject line or reach out to me on Facebook at Evan Forrester FOX43.  Whatever the topic I'll do my best to track down answers you are looking for.