The unseasonably warm winter being experienced in northeast Pennsylvania has prompted questions about the impact on the pest population including ticks. Ticks belong to a group of invertebrates akin to spiders, and feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. Tick-borne illnesses can infect humans through their bite, the most notable being Lyme’s Disease.
Wilkes Professor of Biology Dr. Jeff Stratford spoke with Thomas Battle from WBRE-TV to answer these questions:
WBRE: Does a mild winter increase the tick population?
Stratford: It’s a myth that ticks go away during the winter time. They’re actually out year round. Their behavior right now is called questing, which means they are looking for blood meals. More people will be going outside in the springtime and will be exposed to ticks. So, ticks are always out there, it’s just a question of how many people are out there as well.
WBRE: So what’s the best way to stay tick-free?
Stratford: As I advise my students in the field, they should always tuck their pants in their socks. It may look goofy, but that’s one of the best ways. And always check yourself after a hike.
Watch the full report below: