Tick Population Explosion
Does it seem to you like ticks are suddenly everywhere? Why and how is this happening?
Blood analysis of Otzi, a 5,300 year old ice mummy recently discovered in the Eastern Alps of Italy , showed that the man carried borrelia burgdorferi, marking the first known case of Lyme disease in a human.
We’ve seen a significant increase in reported cases of Lyme and other tick borne diseases across the continent in the last decade. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at least 300,000 new cases of Lyme each year in the United States alone. This massive jump in tick populations and tick-borne diseases has occurred in part due to changing climate conditions, and human encroachment on natural tick habitats. Ticks are now no longer found only in rural forested areas, but in urban areas and city centres as well.
Ticks are undeniably resilient and have been crawling the earth since at least the Cretaceous Era, 100 million years ago.
Ticks require multiple blood meals to sustain them through each phase of their life cycle, and it’s through this series of feedings that they acquire and spread disease. Ticks can pick up Lyme and a multitude of other diseases from each meal source, then pass those pathogens along to their next hosts, including larger wildlife, humans and our animal companions.
One of the most common sources of the ticks’ first blood meal is the white footed mouse, 40-90% of which carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease. Rising temperatures and urban developments constructed within previously forested areas help support the sustained growth of white footed mouse populations, which in turn allow tick populations to thrive year round.
We draw our current conclusions from relatively new information, but within that data we have evidence of ticks enjoying blood meals from feathered dinosaurs. It appears that birds or bird-like flying creatures have been a source of food and transportation for ticks for as long as they’ve been known to exist. Today, as birds migrate they collect and drop off their nefarious travel companions into all sorts of landscapes. As each female tick is capable of laying up to 8000 eggs in a lifetime, it is no wonder tick populations are exploding and quickly becoming the largest vector for diseases in humans.
Tick and Canadian Winters
March 12, 2019
As unpleasant as it may be, it can be beneficial to keep the tick after removal. If you decide to do this you will need place the tick in a sealable container, like this one included in our AtlanTick Tick Kit. You can add alcohol to the container to submerge and kill the tick, while allowing it to remain intact. Once safely contained you can use the saved tick to identify the species, and the potential risks associated with it. We strongly urge you to be sure the the tick is dead before disposing of it.