Ticks in Pennsylvania
Out of the approximate 25 tick species that exist in Pennsylvania, the Blacklegged and American Dog ticks are found most frequently. Both varieties harbor bacteria that can cause serious illness. The Black Legged Tick, commonly known as the Deer Tick, is a vector for several nasty pathogens, the most well-known being Lyme Disease. The American Dog Tick is responsible for causing diseases as well, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Despite the name, the Deer Tick in Pennsylvania also uses many small animals as hosts, especially the white-footed mouse, found throughout our region. According to the PA Department of Environmental Protection, about 51% of the Deer Ticks in Southeastern PA carry Lyme Disease.
The Centers for Disease Control states that the number of people diagnosed with Lyme Disease in the U.S. has tripled since the late 1990s. And in recent years, Pennsylvania has the dubious distinction of being among the highest in the country for the number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease as these ticks are extremely prevalent, most especially in Southeastern PA.
Depending on the weather, some tick species can be active year-round if it’s warm enough, but the primary time of concern is during the summer months when people are more active outside. In the spring and summer months, the nymphs are of concern because they are so tiny. In the fall they grow larger and more visible but also can be more infectious.
To mitigate the risk posed by ticks, it is best to be as vigilant as possible, checking yourself carefully after coming in from the outdoors. To help protect your family at home, consider Tick Shield for your yard.