Hundreds of infected ticks found in one yard in Canada

Just how many infected ticks are in your yard? A citizen scientist initiative found hundreds of ticks in one backyard located in St. John, Canada as part of a larger tick surveillance study, writes Lewis from Mount Allison University in Canada. [1]


Four of the citizen scientists collectively recovered several hundred ticks over a 3-year period starting in 2014. The Saint John, New Brunswick collection process went beyond conventional flagging. “Ticks were obtained by flagging backyard vegetation with a white hand towel, removing ticks from flowers harvested in the backyard, and collecting ticks from the household cat,” according to the study, published in the journal Healthcare.

Ticks at multiple life stages, including larval, nymphal and adult ticks, were collected in the family’s backyard. The number of ticks sampled increased over the 3-year study period. Participants collected 47 larva, 372 nymphs, 15 female adult, and 1 male adults.

15% of ticks collected in 1 yard, infected with bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Click To Tweet

According to Lewis, 15% of the sampled ticks in the family’s backyard (the Saint John site) tested positive for B. burgdorferi by nested PCR. At other locations, such as the Nova Scotia site, 30% of the sampled ticks tested positive for the Lyme bacteria, while 7% were infected at the Hampton site. Some sites were completely free of ticks. At one site, none of the sampled ticks were infected.

The authors suggest the low rate of ticks collected at some sites may help counter what they refer to as “tickophobia” and may provide “an increased sense of personal security outdoors and empowerment that can lead to increased use of outdoor areas for recreation.”

The number of infected ticks found in other locations, however, is concerning.


Related Articles:

Study identifies ticks that are most dangerous to humans

Ticks and Lyme disease bacteria with us since the Ice Age

Cats carry all types of ticks and tick-borne diseases



  1. Lewis J, Boudreau CR, Patterson JW, Bradet-Legris J, Lloyd VK. Citizen Science and Community Engagement in Tick Surveillance-A Canadian Case Study. Healthcare (Basel). 2018;6(1).

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1 year ago

Why is this not being more public. Even scarier then covid 19.
My wife suffers from Lyme disease and even when you know you have it, there is no treatment. Who wants to watch anyone in their family suffer from this. A remedy needs to be found. Eliminating the world of ticks is an impossible solution.
A course of antibiotics if you catch it early is not enough.

A lot of people are suffering their worst nightmare with this disease. They need to be helped.

Margiaret Clifford
5 years ago

It’s Saint John NB – we do not abbreviate.

Mary Astorino
Mary Astorino
5 years ago

Is this study from Saint John, New Brunswick or St. John’s, Newfoundland?

Marg Buckholtz
5 years ago

I believe this is very important info. And it reinforces my belief that local Public Health Units should release to the public the specific results of their tick flags. This includes the location of each drag and the results; also the coinfections that were found. The public is paying for this and should be informed so they can protect themselves.