Barnstable County Tick Experts Warns of Increased Winter Activity

BARNSTABLE – A warmer than normal start to winter has provided the Cape and Islands relief from snow and ice, but it also means a higher presence of ticks.

Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Entomologist Larry Dapsis said ticks are active when temperatures are above freezing and there is a lack of snow cover.

It is not uncommon to see reports of tick bites and Lyme disease in December, January, February and into March.

“They are out there and people need to be vigilant year-round,” Dapsis said.

Dapsis said individuals who are out and about during the winter months should consider treating clothing and footwear with permethrin products.

“That is the most effective way to prevent a tick bite that I know of,” he said.

Permethrin products can be purchased at any garden center.

The Cape Cod Cooperative Extension has a video series at its website, capecodextension.org/ticks/, that provides information on ticks, tickborne illnesses and prevention.

“We have a video that provides the ins and outs of applying [permethrin] and the toxicity profile and how safe it is,” Dapsis said. “That’s all available and people should be doing this.”

Dapsis said individuals should also check pets after they are outdoors.

“There are some really good over the counter products to treat pets,” he said.

One of the more popular products, according to Dapsis, is a Seresto collar.

“Dog owners that I have talked to just rave about the product,” he said.

Dapsis said that individuals who remain in their yards and do not walk through heavily wooded areas are still susceptible to tick bites.

“You can easily pick up a tick at the edge of your yard where you might have some shrubs are vegetation like that,” he said. “You don’t have to go to Nickerson State Park for a tick bite.”

Anyone seeking further information can visit capecodextension.org or contact Dapsis by calling 508-375-6642 or sending an email to ldapsis@barnstablecounty.org.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the CapeCod.com NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.



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