It’s not just mosquitoes that people should be on the lookout for this summer.
Tick season is upon us, and a recent report by the Public Health Agency of Canada adds that climate change is increasing the population and spread of the bug.
Robbin Lindsay of the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg said overall temperatures are increasing in Canada and that allows ticks to survive more and spread the ranges of their habitats.
“What (climate change) is leading to is in areas where the ticks are present already, that’s increasing their abundance,” said Lindsay, who co-authored the Public Health Agency report released April 4. “It’s also resulting in giving a capacity for them to spread to more northern latitudes.”
The biggest thing that Lindsay warns about is the spread of the black-legged tick, which carries Lyme disease.
Although the black-legged tick is rarely present in Saskatchewan, the spread of its population means it’s not too far off.
“The range change in 20 years has been extremely striking,” said Lindsay, who added that black-legged ticks now exist throughout Northern Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and into Manitoba.
Twenty years ago the tick only existed in Southern Ontario. Saskatchewan is likely to see the spread of the tick at some point.
“There are certainly areas of Saskatchewan that parallel Manitoba in terms of suitable habitat (and) acceptable climate, so we don’t anticipate that it’s (only) going to happen — it’s just a