The annual blood drive is on its way

Notes from the North Woods

Despite the early arrival of the spring season, there really hasn’t been much of a problem with skeeters or black flies to date. Although I have discovered a few of the notorious “flying teeth” orbiting my noggin in recent weeks, they have yet to draw my blood.

However, I’m certain I’ll be obliged to provide a donation or two before the annual blood drive is over. However, despite the current absence of flying pests, it is no time to forget the annual warning about ticks, and the growing prevalence of Lyme disease in our region.

At one time Lyme disease was considered a “downstate problem,” since incidents occurred primarily in the lower reaches of New York and in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Many claimed it wasn’t a local problem. Lyme disease was rare in the Park, and in comparison to areas downstate it remains so.

Make no mistake, though: Lyme disease has been prevalent in the Adirondacks for quite a while, and it is likely to get much worse in the future.

According to the New York State Department of Health, bacteria transmitted by deer ticks causes Lyme disease. The animals most responsible for spreading the ticks that host the disease are the white-footed mouse and the white-tailed deer.

Lyme disease is an equal opportunity affliction that hits people of any age who spend time in grassy or wooded environments. Young deer ticks are generally most active between mid-May and mid-August. Adult ticks are generally most active from March to mid-May and again from mid-August to November.

Turkey hunters, who often sit for long hours along the edge of a field during the spring, are particularly susceptible due to the nature of their pursuit. So are deer hunters, who hunt in the fall, when adult ticks are again most active.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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