On average, the first frost in New England can occur as early as October. While the frost may kill mosquitoes and take out what’s left in your garden, it will not kill deer ticks. Ticks will actually retreat when the first freeze occurs but they certainly will not give up the battle.
Where do ticks hide during the fall?
Ticks will take refuge in leaf litter when the temperatures are too cold. Ticks actually wait until it’s warm enough to come back out. That’s why it is so important to keep wooded and brushy areas free of leaves, mulch, and other organic debris.
Can I get Lyme disease in the fall?
Any time deer ticks are active, the threat of Lyme disease is present. The fall months are no exception. According to the experts at the CDC, deer ticks must be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted. With that information in mind, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to check your whole body – arms, legs, groin, armpits, scalp, etc.- for these disease spreading pests after spending any amount of time outside.
What are the odds of getting Lyme disease?
More than 95% of Lyme disease cases in the U.S. are caused by deer ticks in Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and North Central states. What’s more, in these areas, 20 – 30% of blacklegged tick nymphs and 50 – 60% of adult females are infected.
What can I do to prevent contracting Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases?
Removing ticks on your body as soon as you discover them and ideally less than 36 hours from when they attached will help you reduce your risk of acquiring illness from ticks. Other tick bite prevention tips include:
Wearing light-colored clothing to spot ticks easier.
Use permethrin repellents to deter ticks.
Inspect yourself, family members, and pets after spending any amount of time outdoors.
Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick as this could result in mouth-parts breaking off and remaining in the skin. If that happens, simply use tweezers to remove if possible or leave it alone to let the skin heal.
Clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Also wash your hands thoroughly.
Dispose of the tick either by flushing it down the toilet or seal it up in a bag if you’d like to have it tested. Never crush the tick with your fingers.
Once the tick has been removed, keep a watchful eye on the bite site and reach out to your doctor if you are concerned or if you notice a bull’s eye rash or other signs of Lyme disease.