⚫ New Jersey is in the thick of tick season

⚫ Tick populations could be worse this year than others

⚫ You can reduce the risk of a bite on your own property

In 2024 so far, New Jersey has recorded about 700 emergency department visits due to tick bites.

And right now, the Garden State is in the middle of what's typically the most active season of the year for the disease-causing arachnids.

Experts obviously can't get a solid count of the pests, but it's believed that a mild winter has resulted in more ticks than usual in New Jersey. Harsh winters typically kill off ticks; when winter is uneventful, more ticks can survive into the next year.

"We are seeing quite a bit more than average," said Laurie White, owner of Bite Back Tick & Mosquito Control, located in Morganville.

Prevent tick bites

With multiple species calling New Jersey home, ticks can be a year-round annoyance for residents. But the standard "tick season" runs from April through the start of fall.

Beyond opting for preventive treatment to reduce the number of ticks that invade your property, you can also limit your risk by keeping your yards maintained, White said.

SEE ALSO: Blowing leaves in NJ? Fines can reach $1,000

Despite the fact that ticks are more of a problem during the warmer months, they generally don't like heat and sun. Ticks prefer shade, so removing brush, leaves and debris can go a long way.

"You do not want to have tall grass," White said. "They actually sit on the end of the blades of grass and they wait to attach to someone or something."

Lyme and other diseases

Wood tick

In a June 18 press release, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) urged residents to wear protective clothing and use EPA-registered repellents in order to prevent disease.

Multi-year averages tracked by NJDOH suggest that in some parts of New Jersey, about a quarter of deer ticks can be carrying Lyme. Transmitted by the bite of a tick, Lyme can be severe if left untreated.

According to NJDOH, in general, ticks must be attached for more than 24 hours to transmit Lyme. Adults can be the size of a seed, so they may be hard to spot — officials encourage "tick checks" when you come inside from outdoors.

Lyme isn't the only disease threat from ticks. Other common tick-borne illnesses found in New Jersey include Powassan, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Through 24 weeks of 2024, New Jersey has recorded 699 tick-related emergency department visits, according to NJDOH. That number was approaching 1,000 this time last year.

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