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Tick season expected to stretch into autumn

Nearly 67,000 tick sightings have been reported to tick tracking site Punkkilive so far this year.

About 15,000 tick observations were reported in Finland this past month according to tick tracking site Punkkilive.fi. Image: Yle / Sara Vertanen

This year's tick season is expected to extend into early autumn due to the exceptionally warm temperatures during the month of August.

Tick observations have been especially high in southern Finland, with the warm weather fostering their spread, according a press release by the University of Turku.

The statement noted that almost 3,000 observations of ticks have occurred in the Turku area this past month, with nearly 15,000 observed across the whole country.

This year, more than 67,000 tick sightings were reported to the site Punkkilive.fi (siirryt toiseen palveluun), which the University of Turku helps maintain in coordination with pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

The previous year, 80,000 tick sightings were recorded on the site for the entire year.

Oulu sightings

At the beginning of summer researchers noticed an extraordinary phenomenon in tick sightings, when Oulu had the highest tick observations in the whole country.

"In Oulu, you mostly see the taiga tick, whose activity ends at the end of June. Now the sightings in Oulu have decreased a lot. In contrast, the Turku area has seen almost 3,000 sightings in the last month and has also overtaken Oulu in the total number of sightings," said researcher Jani Sormunen in the press release.

He added that taiga ticks are active until the end of June, so in areas where the taiga tick is the dominant species, ticks are no longer regularly found at this point in the season.

In areas where wood ticks — the tick more prevalent in southern Finland — are the dominant species, observations will continue.

Researchers are still following sightings reported to Punkkilive.fi.