How is warmer winter impacting ticks and mosquitoes?

SHARON, Mass — Another February warm stretch is sending people outdoors. Many pet owners have been relaying issues with ticks as they venture out. The trails were packed at the Sharon dog park but instead of ice and snow – the concerns were for ticks.

Gerry McDonough says he keeps his dog Stella protected with tick medicine especially with the mild weather this February.  

“The ticks are definitely out,” said McDonough.

The warmer winter could impact ticks and mosquitoes – but in different ways.  Kaitlyn O’Donnell is an Entomologist at Norfolk County Mosquito Control in Walpole.  She explains how ticks are active now.

“As long as it is above freezing, they are active and they are able to search for a blood meal,” said O’Donnell. 

There is also the potential for mosquitoes to come into play earlier this year.

“If the warm temperatures signals these mosquitoes that it is time to wake up they maybe will come out a little earlier in the Spring and they will be able to develop faster because of the warmer temperatures,” said O’Donnell.

O’Donnell says they also preparing their traps for an aggressive surveillance season – looking for new mosquito populations including types known for biting throughout the day rather than just at night.

“With warmer and milder winters it is possible for those species to creep northward,” said O’Donnell.  “A lot of them are more of a nuisance species but a lot of them are able to carry diseases.”

While the lack of freezing temps is a change of pace this February – people know they still need to prepare for the current conditions.  

Steve Miller says his dog’s tick medicine just expired so he is going to replace it right away. “There are ticks and it is something everybody has to be aware of,” said Miller.

The other factor officials say is the drought is officially over in MA giving plenty of areas for mosquitoes to nest.

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