Really ticked: NH beset by flourishing population
5/29/14-A deer tick is not much bigger than the tip of a pencil. DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER
They also warn it's too early to tell if the recent cool, wet weather pattern will cause an onslaught of mosquitoes and black flies in the coming weeks.
An adult female black-legged tick.Alan Eaton, UNH Cooperative Extension
"I would say about 20 percent of our calls are for ticks," said Sarah MacGregor, president of Dragon Mosquito Control in Stratham, which provides mosquito and pest control for municipalities and homeowners across southern New Hampshire and the Seacoast region. "That's up over previous years. Ticks are definitely what everyone seems to be talking about right now. I've already pulled two off myself this spring. It's crazy."
"It snowed early, and the snow stuck around until late in the spring," said Eaton. "Ticks don't survive very well when it's dry, so that snow cover gave them a nice protective layer, almost like a blanket, to hang out under until spring. The cold doesn't really affect them."
A potential rise in the tick population has state health officials concerned over the possible spread of Lyme disease.
The state's Department of Health and Human Services reported on May 20 that 1,689 cases of Lyme disease were identified in the state in 2013, the highest number over the past five years by 74 cases.
"Unfortunately, Lyme disease remains common in New Hampshire," said New Hampshire Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. "We cannot afford to let our guard down."
"They are hard to spot," said Eaton.
During tick season, health officials are asking residents and visitors to the state to perform frequent tick checks and wear appropriate clothing while outdoors.
Eaton said it's still too early to know what the state's mosquito and black fly population will look like.
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