Aggressive tick can be found in Manitoba


Published Wednesday, April 25, 2018 6:32PM CST


Last Updated Wednesday, April 25, 2018 6:35PM CST

An aggressive tick from the Southern United States can be found in the province due to travelling pets and bird migration.

The species is called the lone star tick, and with warming temperatures the pests could have a better chance at becoming self-sustaining in Manitoba. 

Dr. Kateryn Rochon works in the University of Manitoba’s entomology department, and described the lone star ticks as looking similar to your average wood tick, but the female ticks have a single white spot on their backs. 

Rochon attributed some of the pests ending up in Manitoba to bird migration. 

“You can have some that are feeding on birds, and the birds are travelling to Canada and then ticks will fall from the birds,” said Rochon. 

People bitten by the tick can end up with a bullseye rash. 

Rochon told CTV news a bite can also cause an allergic reaction to sugar that appears like a red meat allergy. 

“You get a tick bite, and then all of a sudden you’re allergic to red meat,” said Rochon. 

“It’s not all lone star ticks that cause that, but that’s the major species that’s been associated with it.” 

Rochon also said the warming climate could have an impact on the lone star’s ability to survive in Canada. 

“We know there’s demonstrative trends in having less snow cover, also having snow-free periods be longer,” said Rochon 

“Then it’s possible that the conditions are going to be just better for those ticks.” 

Rochon suggested people take pictures of any suspect ticks, and submit them to Manitoba Health’s tick checker. 

The province uses the tool to keep track of all ticks, including new and non-native species. 

Entomologist Taz Stuart said it was important that Manitobans protect themselves from all species of tick, including the black-legged tick. 

Stuart stressed that the black-legged tick population was growing steadily. 

“We’re finding them in places they haven’t been before,” said Stuart. 

“Black-legged ticks can cause Lyme Disease which is key.” 

Along with tucking pants into socks, and covering up any exposed skin before heading out, Stuart also suggested using a tick repellent. 

A spokesperson for Health Canada said while individual lone star ticks have been found and tracked in the country, the species is is not currently established in Canada writing: 

“In anticipation of the possible expansion of the lone star tick’s range into Canada, we have developed a risk modelling method and are currently studying the possible impacts of a warming climate on lone star tick populations. Using this risk modelling method, we aim to be able to identify locations in Canada that may become suitable for the lone star tick in the near future.”

  



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