Pesky Little Bloodsuckers May Arrive Soon in Montana
My skin is crawling as I write this.
Experts are saying that because weather patterns are warmer in parts of the country we may have a very "buggy" year. An article on CBS.com says that this could mean mosquitoes and ticks will be arriving sooner than usual. The article references temperatures and flora blooming early on the east coast, but here's something to remember: ticks can arrive as early as April in Montana. And that's quite soon.
Spring and Summer Are Tick Season in Montana
We really are getting to that time of year when we need to start preparing for ticks and mosquitos. While sometimes, there's just no avoiding them (have you ever visited the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge in July? Mosquitos galore), there are things you can do to help prevent tick and mosquito bites.
What to Do Outside
Keep in mind that water is a breeding ground for mosquitos, and piles of leaves and wood are great places for ticks to hide. If you have a wheelbarrow that collected snow and now it's melted, turn it over and let it dry out. I know that leaf pickup was difficult this year because it snowed before the city was able to do its annual leaf pickup, but there are places where you can compost your leaves like Soil Cycle and Missoula Compost.
If you have your own growing space, there are plants that are considered to be repellant for mosquitos. Lavender is one, and bonus, rodents and deer don't like it either. Catmint is another one that repels mosquitoes. Both of these plants grow well in Montana.
What You Can Do
Wear bug spray! Be sure to also do a "tick check" when you come back from anywhere with long grasses, or if you're exploring in the woods. Check your hair and other places they might like to "burrow." This guide has a great body map of where you're likely to find ticks.
If you do get bit, use tweezers to remove the tick, and pay attention to whether or not you develop any flu-like symptoms in the following weeks. Ticks can carry disease (and mosquitos too for that matter). You can find more information about what to do if you get bit on this handy page on the Cascade County website.