Disease-spreading ticks in the northeast United States pose a significant public health threat to residents in the region. It is well understood that individuals living near grassy and wooded areas in the northeast are at the greatest risk of contracting a tick-borne disease, as the tiny arachnids are abundant in these regions. This is why many people living in rural areas of the northeast are particularly vigilant about exercising preventative tick control methods.

Of course, ticks are also abundant in trees, bushes and grassy areas located within suburban neighborhoods in the northeast. In order to reduce tick populations within suburban lawns and gardens, many residents cut their grass regularly, as ticks gravitate toward landscapes with tall grass. Suburban homeowners also check their pets regularly for ticks, as numerous tick-borne disease cases have been contracted from ticks that were transported indoors by pets.

While ticks are well established within rural and suburban areas of the northeast, ticks are not traditionally considered a threat within urbanized areas, as the concrete landscape does not provide ticks with the nourishment they need to survive. Unfortunately, this may change rapidly, as researchers believe that disease spreading ticks will soon establish a dangerous presence within urban areas of Massachusetts.

The rate of tick-borne disease cases in Massachusetts exploded around three years ago, and more and more cases are reported in the state with each passing year. According to Dr. Thomas Mather of the University of Rhode Island, this explosion is due to ticks spreading disease in urban areas of Massachusetts for the first time. Ticks are becoming more common in urban areas of the state due to the increased presence of white tailed deer in urban areas. Deer ticks attach themselves to white tailed deer in order to suck their blood. These white tailed deer then transport ticks to urban areas where the deer are used to dwelling. Dr. Mather claims that the increase in tick-borne disease cases in Massachusetts is due solely to white tailed deer activity in urban areas. Whether or not the ticks will be able to survive an urban habitat depends largely on the climate, as dry air and sunshine may kill off some ticks in urban areas. But the presence of ticks within cities like Boston and Worcester will not disappear completely anytime soon.

Have you ever spotted a tick in a downtown area?