Cape Cod is a beautiful destination and home for people from all over the world. Unfortunately, Tick-Borne Illnesses (TBI) are a risk for anyone enjoying the outdoors when ticks are active. Each season is different, and it's important to be aware of tick behavior on Cape in order to protect yourself and loved ones.
Whether you live on Cape Cod year-round or are just visting, here is an overview of the seasonal tick activity and how to be proactive in preventing tick bites:
During a mild winter, certain species of ticks can still be active as long as temperatures are above freezing and there is no heavy snow cover on the ground. If you have outdoor pets or like to hike during the winter, be sure to perform tick checks after being outdoors- even in the winter!
As soon as snow melts and temperatures are above freezing, tick activity will begin. You may see large adult ticks and small nymphal ticks during this time. It's important to perform daily tick checks and also spray to eliminate ticks around your home as early as possible to reduce the existing population and prevent breeding.
If you are outdoors in sunny areas and the temperatures are high, often tick activity will decrease. However, if you have shaded areas on your lawn and the weather is rainy and cool, you will still see tick activity. Continue performing tick checks on yourself and pets, and apply property sprays to eliminate ticks to tick habitat around the perimeter of your property.
Fall is a very active season for ticks, especially adult deer ticks. These are the larger ticks that are associated with many TBI such as Lyme disease. Continuing tick checks on yourself and pets until late fall or until temperatures drop below freezing is important to protect from tick bites. Continuing property treatments through the end of fall will also reduce the active population over the winter and into spring.
If you have been bitten by a tick remove it immediately. If you begin to see symptoms of Lyme disease or have other concerns, see a physician immediately.
Here are more resources from the Town of Brewster Health Department:
Brewster Health Department
508-896-3701 Extension 120
Barnstable County Department of Health and the Environment Superior Court House
Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
Deeps and Probate Building
Route 6a Barnstable MA 02630
Nantucket Board of Health
37 Washington Street
Nantucket, MA 02554
UMASS Vineyard Extension
PO Box 1696
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557
Each species of tick has different behaviors, seasons, and health risks. Download our free tick identification card to identify ticks you are seeing and proactively protect your family.