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Going buggy

Notes from the North Woods

This football shaped, brook trout measured only 6 1/2 inches in length, but it weighed nearly the same as the much longer fish above it.

This football shaped, brook trout measured only 6 1/2 inches in length, but it weighed nearly the same as the much longer fish above it. Photo by Joe Hackett.

In last week’s column, I purposely raised the alarm to be on the lookout for ticks. I was once a Lyme Disease naysayer myself, and I believed the claim that ticks were not a problem in the North Country.

However, in recent years, I have become uncomfortably aware of just how bad the tick problem really is in the North Country. The bite of a tick is the least of the problem, although it may cause some swelling, irritation and discoloration in a bulls-eye pattern. The real problem begins when the after affects of a tick bite kick in, which can make it “the injury that keeps on giving.”

Although Lyme disease can now be combated by antibiotics, and even prevented with a vaccine, the long term affects of the disease can produce chronic flu like ailments such as swollen joints, severe head aches, balance problems, and dizziness. These neurological effects indicate that Lyme disease has spread to the brain, where it can affect memory, and cause swelling, disorientation, confusion and clumsiness.

The accelerating affects of climate change will likely increase the steady flow of vacationers traveling north to escape the heat and seek relief among the cooler waters and shaded woods of the North Country.

These travelers often bring along vectors of Lyme Disease, such as dogs, cats and sometimes even a mouse or two, that has unwittingly hidden under the hood or in the trunk of a car. There are a million routes available to travel north, and many ticks have already hitched a ride.

Fortunately, I have not yet experienced any recent problems with the Adirondack’s most notorious bug, the black fly. However, there is no doubt I soon will. Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, the black flies will soon be back in the Adirondacks, and it would only be a miracle, if they didn’t!

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

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