It’s officially tick season, now that spring has arrived in the Kootenays. (Submitted by WildSafeBC)

It’s officially tick season, now that spring has arrived in the Kootenays. (Submitted by WildSafeBC)

WildSafeBC: What to do if a tick bites you

By Rosie Wijenberg, WildSafeBC community co-ordinator

Spring has arrived in the Kootenays and with it have appeared some of our least favourite wild neighbours – ticks. In response to this annual emergence, WildSafeBC has some advice on how to avoid tick bites and what do if you are bitten by one of them. The unpopular eight-legged hitchhikers crawl out with the snow melt and can remain active into the early summer. Ticks are ectoparasites and survive and reproduce by embedding in and feeding on hosts such as deer, rodents and… us. Come spring ticks climb up to the tips of grasses and brush waiting for a host to latch onto. So, it is important to be vigilant as we get out to enjoy the nice weather.

Part of the eww factor with ticks is that they are vectors for disease. Here in the Kootenays, the most common human-biting tick is the Rocky Mountain wood tick. The toxin in the saliva of wood ticks can cause tick paralysis. If the tick is not removed, it can be fatal. But if ticks are removed early, the paralysis can be reversed without further symptoms. These ticks are also known to cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is thankfully a rare occurrence in B.C.

The western black-legged tick is also found in B.C., primarily on the coast and west of Boston Bar and Yale. These ticks can carry the bacteria causing Lyme disease. Within B.C. tick populations, the incidence of Lyme-causing bacteria is thought to be less than one per cent. So if someone is bitten, the chance of contracting Lyme is low.

While a bite from a tick does not necessarily mean you will become ill, it is still important to take precautions to avoid getting bitten altogether.

• Avoid areas where you know there are ticks

• Walk on trails and avoid grassy, forested areas

• Be especially wary along game trails or open grassy areas.

• Wearing light coloured clothing will help you see ticks

• Tuck your pants into your socks or wear gators

• Apply insect repellent that contains DEET

• Talk to your vet about ensuring your pets are treated with tick preventatives

Most importantly, when returning from a hike, check yourself, children, and pets for ticks. Ticks will climb up your body and may be found in your hairline, scalp, folds of skin, and under your armpits or knees.

You can also help keep ticks out of your yard by managing wildlife attractants around your residence, such as bird feeders and garbage. They generally do not travel far on their own, but their hosts can bring ticks to you. Deer and small mammals, such as rodents, are great vessels for ticks. Best practices include removing or protecting plants that attract deer, removing hiding spots for small rodents, cutting down tall grass, and managing fruits and other attractive sources of food.

It is important to know what to do if a tick latches onto you. If you find a tick has latched on, use tweezers to pull up gently as close to the head as possible. Do not squeeze the tick and do not twist. It is important to remove the mouth parts. Wash the area with soap and water and disinfect the wound with antiseptic cream. If the tick is not removed promptly and buries itself more deeply, you may need to see a doctor to make sure the mouth parts are removed. Your doctor can then submit the tick for testing to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

For more information on local wildlife, visit

Creston Valley

Just Posted

An artist’s rendering of the new emergency services building. (Photo submitted by Town of Creston)
Creston’s town council provides update on future emergency services building

Construction on the facility is expected to be complete in spring 2022

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

You can help pollinators on their quest by planting native species in your garden. (Pixabay)
E-Tips: Hello from the Creston Climate Action Society

Welcome to the first official E-Tips column

On April 27, town officials gathered at 1505 Cook Street to break ground at the site for the new emergency services building. From left to right: Councillor Arnold DeBoon, Mayor Ron Toyota, Councillor Joanna Wilson, Assistant Fire Chief Laura Dodman, Councillor Jen Comer, and Councillor Jim Elford. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Breaking ground for the new Creston Emergency Services Building

On April 27, town officials gathered at the construction site with shovels ceremoniously in hand

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Most Read