Babesiosis, as discussed in a recent post, is only one of they many tick borne illnesses in Maine. It’s important to be aware of all of them and to take proper steps. And winter is a good time to get all your ducks in a row regarding ticks.

Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not die in winter. Admittedly when there is snow on the ground they are not likely to be a threat but they only die when the temperature is below 10 degrees Fahrenheit for several consecutive days. Ticks are most active March to May and August to November.

The five tick borne illnesses transmitted by deer ticks in Maine are babesiosis, Lyme, anaplasmosis, Borrelia miyamotoi, and Powassan enchephalitis. My dog, Zelda, had anaplasmosis. I had no idea until the vet ran her bloodwork before a routine spay operation. They postponed Zelda’s surgery until she received antibiotics to combat the disease. If this had gone unnoticed she could have bled to death in surgery.

This all comes down the deer ticks are nasty little creatures and can cause some serious problems with your health and the health of your loved ones, including the four legged variety. So take precautions when you’re out there. Tuck pants into socks, wear long sleeves, use permethrin and Deet to repel them, stay out of tall grass and dead leaves and keep your lawn trimmed. I personally use food grade diatomaceous earth to treat my lawn and have found it safe and effective. Stay diligent and remember ticks do not die just because it’s winter.

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