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Experts: ‘Every season is tick season’

As summer draws to a close, you may breathe a sigh of relief thinking that the end of tick season is approaching.

According to experts, you’d be wrong.

“Every season is tick season. Impervious to all but the most bitter cold, ticks take shelter in the leaf litter in gardens and woods. Whenever it gets a little above freezing, they crawl out and up,” according to the IPM website.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has directed the Suffolk County Department of Health to undertake an educational campaign to remind the public of the health risks associated with ticks.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services will hold a series of educational forums to inform residents of various tick-borne diseases and the best practices to minimize exposure to ticks.

“Tick-borne illness is a serious public health crisis in Suffolk County, particularly on the East End,” said Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming. “Adequate funding, resources, and public outreach are critical to controlling the tick population and preventing the spread of disease.”

Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski advised the public to be hyper-vigilant.

“Tick-borne illnesses are epidemic on the East End because the number of ticks has exploded over the last couple of decades due to do the over-population of white-tailed deer,” he said.   At some point, we have to come to terms with the fact that we need to control the population of white-tailed deer.”

Earlier this year the County Legislature passed Capital Project 2091 that will provide funding to enhance the county’s Arthropod Borne Disease laboratory, which studies tick-borne and mosquito-borne pathogens. Additionally, the New York State Department of Health and the Suffolk County Department of Health established a tick surveillance and management program to monitor the tick population and provide municipalities with the best practices for tick management.

The North Fork Forum will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on September 5 at the Peconic Recreation Center, 1170 Peconic Lane, Peconic.

Katharine is a writer and photographer who has lived on the North Fork for nearly 40 years, except for three-plus years in Hong Kong a decade ago, working for the actor Jackie Chan. She lives in Cutchogue. Email Katharine