WINDHAM (WGME) — Ticks are a sign of spring and when the snow disappears, Mainely Ticks gets to work spraying against the pests.
Ticks are heavily affected by the weather, and experts say a warming climate is slowly pushing tick populations farther north and farther inland.
“That will continue to change as the climate continues to change and as our winter continues to warm and temperatures rise. Ticks love that. Ticks love a short winter,” said Mainely Ticks President Bob Maurais.
The snow melted early this year for much of southern and eastern Maine, and mild weather is encouraging people to clean up their yards.
Maurais said to watch out for ticks hiding in piles of leaves and brush.
To stay safe, avoid tick habitats, wear repellent on skin and clothes, and make frequent tick checks.
“After you spend any amount of time outdoors, you, your kids, your grandkids, your pets, do those tick checks immediately following outdoor activity,” Maurais said.
Maurais says to check everywhere for the tiny nymph deer ticks, including behind the ear and in the belly button.
Tick-borne illnesses, like Lyme disease, can have serious long-lasting effects.
Maurais said most bites occur in May, June and July.
“The reality is the quicker you remove a tick, the less apt you are to succumb to a tick-borne illness,” Maurais said.
“It’s not the ticks you find on you that you’re concerned about. It’s the ones you never found,” he said.
Maurais believes last year’s drought may have killed off many ticks but said it is too early to tell.