Lyme Disease Ticks more Abundant and Active Early in 1998

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven received almost twice as many ticks for testing for the Lyme disease pathogen this year than during the first three months last year. Also, nymphal ticks have been received earlier this year.

From January 1 to April 3, 366 Ixodes scapularis ticks (the tick that carries the Lyme disease pathogen known as the deer tick) were received. During the same period in 1997 192 ticks were received.

John F. Anderson, director of the Experiment Station and tick researcher, indicated that during 1997 the first nymph was received from Newtown on April 9 and the second was received from Stamford April 25. Seven nymphs had been received by April 3 this year. There were one each from Darien, Madison, North Haven, Norwalk, and Stamford, and two from Newtown.

Dog ticks, (Dermacentor variabilis), have also been received earlier this year. By April 3 this year, two dog ticks have been received. In 1997 it was not until April 18 before the first dog tick was received.

Anderson attributes the early large numbers of ticks received to the relatively mild winter and lack of snow cover. The warmer weather has allowed the ticks to become active early and the warmer weather has gotten people more active in their yards and the outdoors.

Three fact sheets and information on tick testing during 1996 and 1997, with statistics by town, can be found on the Experiment Station’s web page at