Biologist seeing 'more ticks than we have in any other year'
Vett Lloyd says ticks survived the winter thanks to the heavy snow which acted as insulation
A biology professor and researcher from Mount Allison University says there are more ticks in New Brunswick this spring than ever before.
Vett Lloyd says the deep, heavy snow pack over the winter insulated the tick population and she expects they will be plentiful for the rest of this year.
"They overwinter in the leaf litter just under the snow so the snow kept them nice and cozy and warm and they didn't die off."
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"We're seeing more ticks than we have in any other year so I think it's going to be quite a busy year for ticks," Lloyd said.
She said there has been an increase in the number of ticks being found on dogs and on people.
After spending the winter analyzing ticks in her lab, Lloyd is expanding her research to also look at ticks that cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Bartonella.
"The frequency of infection with the Lyme disease bacteria is going up plus we're starting to see some new tick borne diseases showing up."
"But when you go outside it's important to remember that there are ticks out there and to check yourself, check your dogs, check your children when you come inside."
She said in New Brunswick the highest concentration of ticks is in the south, along the coast and along the borders with Quebec and Maine.
A Maritime conference on ticks and Lyme disease will be held in Moncton on Saturday. A news release says, "With the snow melting, all signs point to a bumper crop of ticks this year in the Maritime region."
Lloyd said the conference is unusual because it is not just for scientists, but open to members of the public.
"It's a chance for the general public to hear about some of the medical issues and the research issues and I think it's acually going to be really powerful to have everyone talking to each other."
She said there will be a demonstration of how to look for a tick on a dog, and a demonstration of how ticks sent in to the lab at Mount Allison are analyzed.