Saskatchewan’s wood tick population could be on the rise as a result of cool, wet weather in parts of the province.
The two types of adult ticks in the province lie dormant during the winter and suffer in dry and hot conditions, according to Dr. Emily Jenkins, a veterinary parasitologist at the University of Saskatchewan.
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“If it’s a cold, wet spring like we’re experiencing right now, they do very well. They survive better and as soon as they get the chance, on a nice sunny day, they’ll be out looking,” Jenkins said.
Experts believe the climate in Saskatchewan has become more favourable for ticks to move northward in province, she said.
At the same time, cities are growing outward, often creeping into tick territory.
WATCH BELOW: Kelly Kizlyk talks about the upcoming tick season and the risk of Lyme disease
About 94 per cent of Saskatchewan’s ticks are the American dog tick. Rocky Mountain wood ticks are also present, according to the Saskatchewan government.
Neither variety carries Lyme disease, an infectious disease spread through tick bites.
Since 2008, the province has collected around 16,000 ticks – of which 41 were identified as black-legged ticks.
Only four black-legged ticks tested positive for the bacterium behind Lyme disease, according to a government website.
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A red rash in the shape of a bull’s-eye is one of the clearest indicators of Lyme disease, though others exist, said pharmacist Kelly Kizlyk.
“Anything like fever, feeling unwell, flu-like symptoms after a tick bite and even within the months following a tick bite, seek medical help,” Kizlyk said.