The Land Trust does its best to provide the community with a safe and enjoyable experience on its property, but visitors should take a few simple measures to ensure that a lovely walk in the woods doesn’t end on a sour note. When it comes to ticks, awareness, preparedness, and prevention are a few steps to take to keep you tick-free and enjoying your favorite Land Trust properties.
Living in New England, ticks are a fact of life. If you haven’t found a tick on your skin or clothing or have been bitten, chances are you know someone who has. Because ticks require physical contact to be transported (i.e. they don’t fly) spending time outdoors in tall grass, shrubs, along stone walls, or even on the golf course, makes you susceptible to at tick bite. Ticks are parasites that live off of blood and can be carriers of diseases, most notably Lyme disease.
Not all ticks are infected with Lyme disease, but those that are can spread it. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical appearance (e.g., rash), the possibility of exposure, and is generally treated with antibiotics.
The Land Trust works diligently to keep our established trail free of overhanging shrubs, and rid of invasive plants like the Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) which act as beneficial mouse (and therefore,tick) habitat (Read more about ticks and Barberry here.) This is a never-ending process that requires diligent stewardship in order to reduce pressure from invasive and therefor tick habitat.
Land Trust visitors can take precautions as well by wearing long-sleeve shirts, tucking pants into socks and applying insect repellent. Always check for ticks once you return home, shower, inspect, and wash your clothes (Read: 10 ways to Avoid Tick Bites).
As the Land Trust does its part to keep trails open and to reduce the risk of tick exposure, visitors can do their part as well. Take preventative measures and make second-nature checking for ticks once you leave the property. Doing so will keep you out walking your woods and enjoying the scenic beauty that New Canaan and the Land Trust have to offer.