Ticks spreading to new places in Saskatchewan

As spring brings warmer weather to Saskatchewan it will also bring out pesky critters, including ticks.

Expansion likely due to favourable climates: expert

Black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks, carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. (AP Photo/Victoria Arocho, File)

As spring brings warmer weather to Saskatchewan it will also bring out pesky critters, including ticks.

The American dog tick, the province's most common tick species, has been appearing in places in Saskatchewan it had never been previously, according to Phil Curry, entomologist and the Zoonotic Diseases Consultant for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health.

"In the last 15 years, the American dog tick in particular has really expanded its range, probably due to favourable climate, favourable habitat conditions," Curry said.

"It [also] gets spread around by birds and other animals."

Tick tracking

Since 2008, the province has detected 64 black-legged ticks, the species which carries Lyme disease.

Curry said black-legged ticks are found throughout the province "from Estevan to Lloydminster" and wherever you can find deer, but are usually found in forested areas.

The province does both active surveillance, where they will go out and search for tick populations, and passive, where ticks are submitted by the public.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story quoted Phil Curry as saying, "people are starting to see ticks," and said this meant people were reporting ticks this March. In fact, Curry was saying people are starting to see ticks in areas they had not before.
    Mar 20, 2018 2:54 PM CT

With files from CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition