Lyme climate change

Tick populations booming due to climate change 

According to experts in the field, ticks have gone through some changes over the past few years.

“I think one of the biggest concerns that you see within the published literature for ticks is that ticks’ geographical regions are expanding,” said Dr. Janet Foley, a professor and researcher at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. Foley, who studies the ecology and epidemiology of infectious diseases, also serves as co-director of the Center for Vector-Borne Diseases, an institution on the frontlines of tick and mite research.

“Clearly ticks are expanding farther north,” she said. “[W]e’re finding a lot of tick species moving into new areas. And a lot of that has to do potentially with climate change [and] animal husbandry practices if we’re cutting forests or recreating grasslands… So as a whole ticks themselves are really becoming an emerging problem, not that they always weren’t anyway, but they are getting worse.”

Ticks can spread infectious diseases such as Lyme disease and and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Photograph: Rasmus Holmboe Dahl/Alamy