ORONO — As the wet weather continues, the threat of tick-borne illnesses is on the rise.
James Dill, a local tick expert from the University of Maine, said far this year encounters between ticks and people have decreased due to the weeks the state went without rain during the summer.
However, as the calendar turned from September to October, the state entered peak tick season.
“As we move into the fall we tend to see a peak in the adult activity, which we are seeing now as we normally would. We kind of bounced back from the drought-like condition during the summer months and now that we’re experiencing the cooler and wetter weather, the ticks have rebounded and are out in full force,” Dill said.
Dill says the pace in which people are submitting ticks to University of Maine’s tick lab is close to last year’s with about 2000 ticks being submitted this year.
But so far, he says the Maine CDC has reported a decrease in numbers for reported tick borne illnesses statewide.
“Part of that might be some of the drought like conditions and reduced tick activity in the mid summer months but a lot of that maybe due to a focus on COVID-19 rather than some of these other pathogens that are out there as well,” Dill said.
He adds that until the weather is consistently below freezing temperatures, ticks and their diseases will still be a threat out in the environment.