Environment
4:55 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

High-Season For Lyme Disease Begins, Ticks Out In Force

Credit Brian M / Flickr CC

Health and environmental officials say New Hampshire is entering the highest risk time of year for exposure to Lyme disease, and the ticks could be especially bad this year.

“If you have to, move to Aruba,” says Alan Eaton, Biologist with the UNH Cooperative Extension, “Get out of here for the next month of six weeks or so.”

Lyme risk is high right now because tick nymphs – the young form of the insect – are active, and because they are about the size of a poppy seed, they are really hard to see. There may be more ticks this year because a blanket of snow kept them, not so much from freezing, but from drying out.

“When you have a nice layer of snow or ice that seals you in and keeps you in a situation where it’s close to 100% humidity, then you’re gonna do alright,” Eaton says.

New Hampshire has the highest rate of Lyme disease in the country. To combat ticks officials recommend staying out of tall grass, wearing clothing that covers your legs (with tall rubber boots providing the best defense) and checking for ticks daily.

“The most important stuff is within your control and it doesn’t cost money it just takes a little time and effort,” says Eaton.

Incidence of Lyme and the black-legged ticks that carry it are highest on the seacoast and southern counties.