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Experts say it’s not too early to check for ticks in NY

Erik Karits

Many people celebrated when the groundhog predicted an early spring in February, but warm temperatures are also leading to some less desirable creatures showing up.

Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann is a Cornell University entomologist and associate director of the New York State Integrated Pest Management program. She said tick activity is getting worse each year, and the warm winter temperatures are not helping.

"They are out there waiting for a host to come by. It could be a deer. It could be your dog, maybe you,” she said. “As soon as it's warm enough, which is 37 degrees or higher, (ticks) are looking for a blood meal."

Gangloff-Kaufmann said black-legged ticks are the most prevalent type in upstate and central New York, and they present serious health risks.

“They carry Lyme Disease, but they also carry other types of diseases such as Babesiosis would be a disease you'd get from Babesia. Anaplasmosis would be another disease you'd get from a microbe,” she said.

And even though it may be tempting to break out your shorts for hikes on warm winter days, Gangloff-Kaufmann said that could give ticks easier access to your skin.

"One thing we recommend is people, I mean, it's not cool or anything, but to put your pants inside your socks because it provides a barrier for ticks, and they have to continue up on the outside of your clothing,” Gangloff-Kaufmann said.

She also recommends doing a thorough tick check every day you go outside. Ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, and many people don’t notice they’ve been bitten.

If you do find one, she recommends pulling it out right away with fine tip tweezers.

For more information on tick prevention, clickhere.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.