Tick season could be bad in Oklahoma – and elsewhere

This article, part of a 3-part series published in Southwest Farm Press, focuses on the tick risk in Oklahoma. However, because many parts of the eastern US experienced a mild winter and an early spring, the points raised in this series are applicable to residents in other states.

Article written by Leilana McKindra, Oklahoma State University

Ticks are small, but after recent mild winters, they could cause big problems for Oklahomans this summer.

“We didn’t have a winter that could impact tick populations and that means our tick season is going to be longer and could potentially be more intense if the temperatures stay in normal ranges for this time of year,” said Justin Talley, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock entomologist.

No significant hard freezes, particularly this past winter, and adequately wet springs have translated into increased opportunities for ticks as well as common hosts of the pest, such as deer, opossum and raccoons, to survive and thrive because the food supply is plentiful.

“Not only do you have ideal environmental conditions, but you also have ideal pasture conditions that allow wild animals to import tick populations,” Talley said. “The same goes for domesticated animals like cattle, horses and dogs, which also serve as hosts for ticks.”

Homeowners may consider treating their yards to control for ticks, especially on properties located next to natural habitats and wooded areas with tall vegetation or trees. The idea is to establish a boundary between the property and the natural habitat or wooded area.

Read the rest of the story in Southwest Farm Press.

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