Checking for ticks: Maps show pest's hotspots in the Maritimes

Checking for ticks: Maps show pest's hotspots in the Maritimes

If you ever wanted to know where the creepy crawlies hide, a new digital map is helping shed light on hotspots for ticks and Lyme disease in the Maritimes.

Researchers at Mount Allison University and the Geospatial Modelling Lab have been collecting ticks from the public and veterinarians from across the region since 2012 and compiled the data in virtual maps on their website.

"We've had this information and we've talked about it being nice to be able to actually give this to the public," David Lieske, director of the lab and professor at Mount Allison, told Information Morning: Saint John.

He said the researchers hope to offer an "accurate, up-to-date picture" of tick distribution. 

Watch out for ticks

The maps are not going to tell you if you're going to find ticks in your backyard, he added, although it does show areas where ticks have been spotted — such as the Saint John area, where the probability of finding ticks is highest in New Brunswick.

In an hotspot area like that, he said, people should be on the lookout for ticks on their clothes or dogs — especially when trekking through the woods.

Lieske said the researchers plan on updating the map every year and would like to see it become an archive of tick distribution across the province.

"We're hoping that this information will make people more aware, not just members of the public but also the health professionals," he said. 

Information about tick testing and the lab, as well as different projections and maps are available on the Maritime Tick Information Maps website.