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Ticks Are Being Found In More Parts Of Wisconsin

Bugs Have Been Found In Urban Areas, More Locations In SE Wisconsin

Deer ticks have been found in greater numbers in southeast Wisconsin. Photo: Fritz Flohr Reynolds (CC-BY-SA).

While it appears that Wisconsin’s tick population is stable, the bugs are showing up in more parts of the state.

P.J. Liesch, the interim assistant faculty associate at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Entomology, says ticks move around different to new areas by attaching themselves to birds and mammals. Liesch says that recently, ticks are popping up in more urban areas.

“We have places even in town, in Madison, where people are finding deer ticks on their pets – and they haven’t wandered out to an area of prairie grass or a wooded area, or anything like that,” said Liesch.

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Liesch says deer ticks are appearing more in southeast Wisconsin, an area where they were nonexistent a decade ago – a concerning development, because deer ticks can pass Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis on to people.

La Crosse County vector control manager Dave Geske says people should steer clear of taller grass and take other measures to protect themselves from ticks.

“This is the time of year that the majority of people that become infected with tick-borne diseases become infected,” said Geske. “To a certain degree it’s because, right now, there are a lot of immature ticks that are out there that come, get attached to people and animals, take a short duration blood meal, and drop off. People have no idea the ticks were even on them.”

Research is underway at UW-Madison to find ways to control tick populations in the wild, which would give people another line of defense against the pests.