Last week Vermont Fish and Wildlife issued this warning—Ticks are back for one more meal before winter, and between now and Thanksgiving, hunters should take extra care to protect themselves from tick bites.
What's the story? Why do we still have to deal with ticks? Is that unusual?
The Observer contacted the Vermont Health Department, the agency that deals with ticks in the Green Mountain State.
"Ticks are still out in November because of the way their activity varies throughout their two-year life cycle, " said Bradley Tompkins, the chief of the state's Tickborne Disease Program.
"Year One—ticks hatch from their eggs in the spring as larvae. These larvae feed in the late summer and early fall. The larvae then use this blood meal to grow and overwinter until the next spring when during Year Two the larval ticks molt into nymphs".
"The nymphs feed in the spring and early summer, then use that blood meal to grow into adult ticks. These adult ticks need one more blood meal in order to reproduce and complete their life cycle so they come out again in the late fall (now) to get one more blood meal so that they can reproduce, overwinter, and lay their eggs in the spring when the whole process starts again."
So while it is not unusual to see ticks active in November in Vermont, what is unusual is that the number of tick encounters in 2017 is way above average.
As you can see from the graph below November 2017 tick encounters (Green bars) are nearing the historic maximum recorded in between 2004 and 2016 (Orange line). Tick encounters in November 2017 are about double the the historic average for that period—blue line.