An expert says the delayed spring and a week of temperatures reaching 65 degrees Fahrenheit means ticks will likely come out soon in large numbers in Minnesota.
Ticks can transmit diseases, such as Lyme disease, human anaplasmosis and babesiosis, during the feeding process.
The ticks will be hungry because they’ve been waiting to emerge, said Janet Jarnefeld, manager of tick vector services with the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District. The district covers Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties.
“It’ll seem like there’s a lot more because they’re coming out in full force all at once instead of a little at a time,” she said.
Ticks can have a three-year life cycle. After they hatch from an egg, they spend time as a larva, a nymph and then become an adult. Ticks can bite at any state in their life. They’re typically too weak and small to successfully latch on during the larva stage. They’re most dangerous during the nymph stage because they’re small and hard to detect.
The Minnesota Department of Health reported more than 1,300 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 2016.
Clothes should be sprayed with permethrin, which is an insecticide that repels ticks. Residents should also check their clothes for ticks after spending time in the woods or fields. Wearing lighter colored pants and tucking pant legs into socks can make it easier to spot ticks, Jarnefeld said.
Tick season peaks in July. August is typically the best month for outdoor activities.
“I call August our tick-free month,” Jarnefeld said. “It’s not to say you won’t see any, but it provides the fewest opportunities for ticks to attach to you.”