June is always a bad month for wood ticks at the cottage, but this year things are really crazy.
The extremely cold winter we just had apparently didn’t cause the ticks any grief. It’s possible the lack of snow might have helped them out, or maybe the dry spring gave them a head start.
Regardless of the reason, there appears to be an abundant supply of ticks around the property, and they are forcing our family to be more vigilant than ever.
What should a cottager do to avoid ticks?
Cottage ownership is about being outdoors, so you don’t want the ticks to ruin the experience. In addition, spring maintenance is inevitable, so we have to get some things done to ensure the place runs smoothly through the rest of the year.
To begin, it is always a good idea to wear rubber boots when walking around the property. This makes it harder for the ticks to hitch a ride and begin their journey up your body in search for a place to lock in and begin feeding.
Another helpful trick is to tuck socks and shirts inside your jeans. This will minimize access to your legs and stomach, which tend to be prime spots for ticks to feed.
After that, it can help to apply a solid dose of DEET-based insect repellent all over your clothes.
Finally, be sure to do a thorough tick check every evening before and after you have a shower. If you find a tick that has not had a chance to attach itself, you can simply remove it. Special attention should be given to the kids, as they might not notice the ticks as easily.
Wood ticks, as seen in the video below, are normally harmless from a disease perspective. The deer ticks (blacklegged ticks) are the nasty ones, and are unfortunately extending their range. Knowing the difference between the wood tick and the deer tick is important.
In the event you don’t catch a tick before it latches on, the medical authorities say it is still unlikely to transmit any disease if you remove it within the first 24 hours. Tick-removal kits are available at most local public health clinics in cottage country.
Check out our ticks and Lyme disease page for additional information.
by Andrew Walker