WATCH ABOVE: New Brunswick’s leading tick researcher says there’s been an explosion in the tick population this year. With an increase of ticks, comes an increased risk of exposure to lyme disease. Global’s Brion Robinson reports.
SACKVILLE, N.B. – A Mount Allison University professor says a harsh winter with lots of snow is one of the main reasons more ticks are on the move this summer.
Dr. Vett Lloyd has been tracking ticks infected with Lyme disease across the province for years.
She says warming temperatures have been helping tick populations slowly grow and spread across the province. But last winter’s high amounts of snow made a significant impact.
“We’ve seen double the number of ticks,” she said.
“It’s cold above the snow but it’s not cold below the snow,” She said. “The snow acts as an insulation for the ticks and as everyone around here knows we had a lot of snow last year so not very many of them died off.”
The explosion is drawing concern from residents. Louise Billings helps lead a Lyme disease awareness group in the Fredericton area.
Ticks that carry the disease can infect people.
“I see the results of when people are bitten by an infected tick and how sick they can become,” she said. “You don’t want to see more people sick.”
She says people should be vigilant and watch out for ticks when they’re outside and make sure their arms and legs are covered.
“Wearing something light so you can see the ticks if they are a size you can see them then something light is easier to pick them up,” she said.
New Brunswick’s Department of Health is also urging people to avoid tick habitats that include wooded and bushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter.