Niagara Region reports an ‘uptick’ of ticks

There’s an ‘uptick’ of ticks this year in the Niagara Region, prompting health officials to advise the public to enjoy the outdoors with caution.

Niagara Public Health says the majority of the spider-like bugs reported have been black legged ticks which can transmit Lyme Disease. The Hamilton and Halton regions are also reporting a rise in ticks.

“They have a tendancy to dry out, so they will crawl under that leaf litter.”

Niagara Public Health officials say nearly 4 times more ticks have been reported this year in comparison to the same time frame in 2018.

Of the 85 ticks that have been plucked out, placed in a jar, and reported by residents, 80 have been black legged. Those are the kind that can transmit Lyme Disease.

“When the weather is cool and relatively wet, as it is currently, that’s when they normally thrive”

Niagara Public Health says another factor that could be contributing to the higher tick statistics this year is that people are becoming more vigilant.

At Rotary Park in St. Catharines, signs warn of ticks. Nearly all of the Niagara Region is considered higher risk for the spider-like bugs by Ontario Public Health.

“If you walk by and brush against it, they may adhere to you.”

They like tall grass, and hiding under leaves.

If a black legged tick is embedded for longer than 24 hours the risk of Lyme Disease increases. Its an infectious disease that in the early stages can cause fever, fatigue, and headaches. Its commonly noticed by a bullseye rash the bug leaves behind. Pulling them off should be done with tweezers ensuring no part of the insect is left behind.

However, not every black legged tick carries Lyme Disease.

In Hamilton, Public Health Officials say of the 91 black legged ticks reported last year in the city, 5 tested positive for Lyme Disease causing bacteria.

Adding that, 6 Hamiltonians contracted Lyme Disease in 2018. Three of which were acquired locally.

Theres a rise in the Halton Region as well. In 2018, 48 black legged ticks were collected all year. So far, just this spring already 62 ticks have been collected.