We probably wish they were endangered, but as people in the Northeast, Midwest and mid-Atlantic know, deer ticks that carry Lyme and other diseases are growing their populations. Humans are the ones in danger.
Right now is the worst season (May & June). The adolescent “nymphal” ticks are out in force and looking for you.
They are about the size of a poppy seed but you won't spot them in the leaf litter and shady leaf borders where they are now.
Last summer, the Center for Disease Control adjusted upward its estimate of Lyme disease prevalence by a factor of 10, to about 300,000 American cases a year.
In most cases, the disease can be treated with antibiotics IF it is diagnosed and treated promptly. But 10 to 20 percent of cases are not discovered early or do not respond to to antibiotics.
The recommended prevention includes:
- Spray your shoes with repellent containing Permethrin because nymphal-stage deer ticks are in leaf litter, and so as your shoes move through the leaf litter, that’s where those ticks take hold.
- Spray your pant treating the inside as well as the outside.
- Use your dryer as soon as you come inside. 10 minutes on high heat should desiccate any ticks you might carry in.
- Make sure that your dog has effective quick kill product on it like Advantix II or Seresto collars
- You don't have to out in the woods to encounter ticks. Suburban backyards are also breeding places. Take precautions and if you spray, killing black-legged ticks requires a synthetic pyrethroid. Greener alternatives are appearing but are not proven as effective yet.
Research has shown that days of low humidity will start to kill of populations.