A warning if you’re planning to spend anytime outside.

The tick population may be on the rise compared to last year, bringing a looming threat of Lyme Disease into focus. "Don’t lose your vigilance because the leaves are falling. Those ticks are still out there," said Bob Russell with American Pest Solutions. It’s a good time to be a tick, but the same can't be said for us humans. "I think we’re a little ahead of last year as far as populations go," Russell noted. The ecosystem here in western Massachusetts has helped the deer tick thrive. "Ground rodents like mice, the white-footed mouse, and chipmunks are dispersing the tick all over the place. We see more mice and chipmunks than we do last year. The ticks will follow that. and mice are the winter reservoir for the Lyme Disease virus," Russell explained. The weather has also been fostering a healthy tick population. "We had high, high humidity with high temperature, but you had some rains and a lot of moisture on the ground and in the morning," Russell added. A perfect host for the insect population as a whole.

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Many leaf peepers, hikers, and outdoors lovers alike should keep the bug spray handy. "Inspect yourself. Wear light-colored clothing when you’re out on hikes, the best thing you can do so you can easily inspect and find any guys that are hitchhiking," Russell continued. As we head into the winter down the road the tick population will wind down, but that’s still a ways away.

"You’ll see activity and people picking up ticks right into November, December, depending on the warmth, but sun angle does play a part," Russell concluded.

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