by Laura Weis
Thawing temperatures and longer days are early harbingers of spring, but unfortunately so is the appearance of ticks and the diseases they carry. Ticks can be active anytime the temperature climbs above 45 degrees, which means that the month of March signals the beginning of consistent tick problems in Pennsylvania.
Understanding the Problem
All ticks feed on the blood of their host animals, and most go through four life stages and often prefer different host species for each stage. Ticks can sense their hosts’ body heat, breath and odor, as well as moisture, vibrations and even shadows. Ticks cannot jump or fly. They find potential host animals by attaching to grass or leaves with their hind legs, holding their front legs outstretched in a behavior called “questing”. When a promising host brushes past, they quickly climb aboard, attach and begin feeding. Continue reading