Wet winter, dry summer could lead to uptick in insects across state

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DENVER -- Tick populations could be on the rise this season, according to a biannual study by the National Pest Management Association.

The study cites a cold, wet winter coupled with an expected drier summer for creating ripe conditions for ticks, mosquitoes and stinging insects.

"Colorado gets the reputation for not having a lot of bugs," State Public Health veterinarian Jennifer House said. "But we do have mosquitoes and ticks which carry a lot of diseases."

House said there are three types of ticks in Colorado that could be harmful to people and pets: The American dog tick, the brown dog tick and the Rocky Mountain tick.

She said the ticks do not carry Lyme disease, but they do have a host of other diseases that are dangerous.

"The ticks that we have in Colorado are commonly associated with Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, Colorado tick fever and on rare occasions tick paralysis," House said.

She said some ticks can live for years and they don't die off in the winter.

"Cold temperatures don't kill ticks," House said. "What kills ticks is drying out."

When outdoors, House recommends staying on paths, trails or sidewalks, using repellent and conducting self tick-checks daily.

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