Ticks and Lyme Disease
A tick is very small and can range in size from a poppy seed to a small grape (when engorged). They do not jump or fly.
Ticks are normally found in forested areas or areas with long grass, where they attach themselves to humans and animals passing by.
On humans, ticks normally attach to areas such as the groin, armpits, hairline or behind the ears.
Two Types of Ticks in Niagara
Blacklegged / Deer Tick
- Can carry and transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease
- Usually found in forested areas
- Very small and can be hard to see
- Active in early spring and late fall
- Black legged ticks have no white markings on the large part of their bodies
American Dog Tick
- The most common tick found in the Niagara region
- Does not carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease
- Usually found in areas with long grass and tree cover
- About the size of an apple seed and reddish brown in colour
- Active in the spring and summer
- Dog ticks usually have white markings or silver-coloured spots
- With fine tip tweezers, grasp the tick's head as close to the skin as possible
- Slowly pull the tick away from the skin until it releases. Do not twist or crush the tick. Ensure all the mouth parts have been removed, otherwise the bite can become infected.
- After removing the tick, wash the area with soap and water
Submit a Tick for Testing
If you think the tick is blacklegged or you cannot identify the tick, it can be submitted in clear, dry containers or double Ziploc bags to a Public Health office for testing.
Ticks will be identified by Public Health staff within 48 hours. If a blacklegged tick is identified, staff will consult with you on next steps.
There is no cost for tick identification and testing.
In Niagara, blacklegged ticks have often been found in the Wainfleet bog. However, it is possible to find blacklegged ticks outside of this area too. Remember to protect yourself no matter what area you are in.
- Wear light coloured clothing to help spot ticks
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Icaridin. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Do daily full body checks on yourself, your children and pets after coming in from the outdoors
- Cut your grass and dispose of leaf litter where ticks can live
- Outdoor workers should shower or bath within two hours of being in forested or long grass areas
- Watch out for questionable diagnosis and treatment
For more information on Lyme disease, including symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, visit Health Canada or the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Statistics about Lyme Disease in Niagara