Lets look at some maps!
We've just added our first maps from 2018. These are based on submissions from April 17 to May 17, 2018, totalling 134 submissions.
Lets look at these maps, and see what we can learn from them....
First off, we can see that the most commonly submitted ticks so far are American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) and blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis). Both of these ticks species are common in certain areas of Canada, so this is not an unexpected finding.
Furthermore, the distribution of these ticks is fairly consistent with previous findings over the last few years. For example, we know in Ontario that blacklegged ticks are established in areas along the northern shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, as well as along the St. Lawrence River and into eastern Ontario. We also know that many areas of Nova Scotia, particularly the south shore, are hot spots for blacklegged ticks.
However, there are tick species across many other areas of Canada and we do not see these reflected on our maps. For example, established populations of blacklegged ticks exist in southern Quebec and Manitoba, and Dermacentor species are commonly encountered in the Prairies. This lack of submissions likely illustrates a limited awareness of the Pet Tick Tracker in other provinces, rather than a true finding of fewer ticks. That means we need to promote Pets and Ticks more widely across Canada. You can definitely help us by sharing with all of your Canadian friends from coast to coast!
We can also see a large number of submissions marked "Other". Many of the "Other" submissions were actually marked "unknown". Although it's good to get as many submissions as possible, it's even more valuable if we know the tick identification. If you are unsure, that's completely okay because tick identification is hard! You can help us in one of two ways:
(1) Take a photo of the tick. We've added extra instructions on the online form. The best photos are on a white background and as close as possible, while maintaining good resolution. Photos of both sides of tick are very helpful. And if you cannot upload the file because it's too big, try compressing it.
(2) Send the tick to us! We'll look at it under the microscope and determine the identification.
A subset of the other species were identified as the brown dog tick. This tick is actually very rare in Canada and this finding is something we would like to follow up on. If you believe you have a brown dog tick, please take a photo or send it to us so we can confirm the identification. Sometimes it can be very difficult to differentiate this tick species from other species.
Thank you for your submissions so far. Please continue to do your tick checks (on your pet and yourself), and remember to share Pets and Ticks widely so we can continue to monitor tick populations across Canada.