QC tick problem could be worse this year

(Iowa State University)
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – Ticks are always a springtime concern for humans and pets, but the problem could be more prevalent this year in the Quad Cities and elsewhere in Iowa.

“We have implemented a tick surveillance for the state just this year, so we don’t have a good baseline of tick numbers,” said Iowa State University Assistant Entomology Professor Ryan Smith.

“However, it definitely seems as though there have been an increased number of ticks out this year.”

Smith said it is unknown why there may be more ticks this year, but rainfall and temperatures in recent months may have contributed.

“The fact that many places in Iowa had an extended snow cover on the ground may have actually provided some additional protection for ticks as they over-wintered as well,” Smith said.

Curt Kemmerer, a natural resources biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said, “I feel that, in general, ticks have been expanding their numbers and ranges in recent years.”

While the reasons for an increase are not certain, Kemmerer said weather and an expanding small mammal population could be contributing factors.

He also said tick populations are not necessarily consistent so that they “may be abundant in one area, and not so much in another nearby area.”

Smith suggests always checking for ticks anytime you spend time outdoors in wooded or tall grassy areas.

Click here to see recommendations from the State of Iowa on how to remove a tick and prevent tick bites.