Rhode Island is in the midst of the most dangerous tick-season of the year. University of Rhode Island researchers say there are more of the insects this year than last year. The arachnids are most prevalent in May, but URI tick specialist Tom Mather, says mid-summer carries the highest risk.
“What we face now is a dangerous period, which is when nymphal-stage deer ticks are active, and these are ticks that are the size of poppy seeds, and they are loaded with pathogens,” said Mather.
Nymphal-stage deer ticks are incredibly hard to spot, and they’re loaded with disease. They can transmit those illnesses to humans in cases such as Lyme disease and Babesiosis.
Mather says the small size is part of what makes deer ticks dangerous.
“The average time it takes someone to find one is usually two days, or two-and a half days, and by that time, if the tick is infected, it would have the chance to transmit whatever it was carrying.”
Mather said the deer tick season only lasts through the early part of August in Rhode Island.
Mather recommends precautions including long sleeved clothing and checking yourself for ticks after you’ve been outside.
Editor's note: an earlier version of this story incorrectly identified ticks as insects. They are in fact arachnids.
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