Dangerous deer ticks are active right now

Comparison of Deer Tick life stages over a dime, from left: larvae, nymph, adult male, adult female. Photo courtesy of Chautauqua County Health Department

Lyme disease has more than doubled in Chautauqua County since 2014. Three of my seven grandkids became unfocused a few years ago, fatigued, and complained about aches, pains and headaches. They were 7, 14 and 16 years old. Too young for the usual rites of arthritis passage and similar ailments. In short, we eventually discovered that all three had Lyme disease. Identifying and finding a remedial cure took three years and $2,000 per month. The mysterious disease culprit was Lyme disease. Lyme can mimic more than 300 diseases, allowing patients and untrained medical staff to misdiagnose this killer disease before it is diagnosed correctly.

The disease is caused by a bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) and can be spread to humans when an infected black-legged tick (also known as a “deer tick”) attaches to a human. Deer ticks are so tiny through all four stages of their two-year life cycle that people may never see them or recognize them as a threat to their health. But these little critters are seriously dangerous.

Deer ticks live in shady, moist areas at ground level. They cling to tall grass, bushes and shrubs, usually no more than 18-24 inches off the ground. They also live in lawns and gardens, especially at the edges of forested areas and around old stone walls. Ticks cannot jump or fly onto a person. They usually wait in vegetation and cling to animals or humans that pass by. Deer ticks can also be found on your moored boat at the marina, as they cling to seagulls and birds, and drop off when the birds stop to rest. Stay aware. Once a tiny tick gets on the skin, it climbs upward until it reaches a warm, protected body area — underarm areas, the groin, behind the ear or on the nape of your neck — then burrows in. Their bite is painless. You have to look to see that a deer tick has made entry. If you go outside, check yourself every day. Moms and dads, a word to the wise to check your kids. Shower off after coming inside.

Warmer weather is upon us, and it is an excellent time of year to get outside and explore the natural beauty of our community. Be prepared if you are a fresh mushroom picker, wild onion seeker, woods hiker, camper, turkey hunter or gardening enthusiast. My family and I have learned to depend on Permethrin spray to coat our exterior clothing and boots. One application lasts six weeks, even through the wash. We use Picaridin on our exposed skin areas, which is applied each outing. Walmart and drug stores everywhere carry these products. They are inexpensive. Or, for nonchemical protection, purchase and wear a Rynoskin suit (www.rynoskin.com). The whole suit weighs about 2 ounces. They are thin, light and breathable, but deer ticks and similar eight-legged arachnid critters cannot get through. A suit consists of socks, lowers, uppers, gloves and a head cover. The suit eliminates worrying about spending too much time outside, especially for turkey hunters.

The Chautauqua County Health Department reminds us that May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. As part of their work to prevent disease, promote wellness, and protect the health and safety of the community, they recommend checking for and properly removing ticks, understanding Lyme disease symptoms and knowing when to call your doctor. If you spend time outdoors, please visit

Local Lake Erie tributary streams have smallmouth bass in them, but Adam McInerney is still finding a few steelhead to bite his custom made jig-flies. Beware of deer ticks along the shoreline. Submitted Photo

their website to learn more from their video (https://chqgov.com/environmental-health/news/video-protect-yourself-against-ticks-and-lyme-disease).


May 1-31: NYS spring turkey season is open

May 3-12: Lake Ontario Spring Trout/Salmon/Walleye derby, visit www.loc.org.

May 4: Fly Fishing 101, 9AM-11AM, Orvis Buffalo, Free, gear provided, 4545 Transit Rd., Williamsville. Call 276-7200 to reserve a spot.

May 7: Niagara Musky Association, monthly meeting, 7PM, Eldridge Club, 17 Broad St., Tonawanda. Chris Driscoll – Region 9 biologist, is guest speaker.

May 11: Hunting Heritage Banquet, Springville Strutters Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, St. Aloysius Church hall, 186 Franklin St., Springville, 5PM start, Info: 592-2388 (Jim Gamel).

NOTE: Submit calendar items to forrestfisher35@yahoo.com.


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