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  • Writer's pictureDon Wilding

So it's cold, but ticks are still out

Winter weather is here, but that doesn't mean that the ticks are gone.

Earlier today, WPRI-TV in Providence, R.I., posted a story about how 130 ticks were found in a wooded area on a cold November day.

Seven years ago, a few months after I was unknowingly initiated into the ranks of Lyme, I was out shooting some video footage with three others in the woods of Thompson's Field in Harwich. It was a November day much like today -- cloudy, raw, temperatures hovering around 40.

We were out and about there for a couple of hours. As darkness began to creep in, we headed out to a local restaurant for dinner.

Then, while browsing the menu, there it was — crawling right across the entree section of the dinner options, was none other than a deer tick.

Then, on my sleeve, was another.

“Uh, guys … you might want to check yourselves out. I just found a tick on my menu and another on my sleeve.”

It wasn’t long before we were all headed for the men’s room, pulling off items of clothing. A few more were found. We headed back to the table, had dinner, but still keeping an eye out for more of the nasty little bloodsuckers.

When I got home, everything that I was wearing went into the dryer for a half-hour. That will kill any ticks on the clothing.

The wooded area that we were in was prime tick territory — lots of dead trees, pine needles, and dampness. And don’t be fooled by the chilly temperatures. I’ve even seen them in the woods on seasonable days during the months of January and February. A friend of mine was bitten just last week.

When I first moved to the Cape during the winter of 2003-04, I went out one frigid January day to Paines Creek Beach in Brewster. It was about 15 degrees. On the beach was sign warning beachgoers about the dangers of ticks, in any kind of weather.

I looked at the sign, then out at the frozen bay, and chuckled. I’m not laughing now.

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