28/04/2022 2 min

Beware of ticks in forests or gardens

Especially active in the spring and autumn, ticks are the main vectors of pathogens responsible for infectious diseases in Europe. In particular, they transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease in humans. Bites can occur in woods and forests, but also in gardens.

Some tick species can transmit viruses, bacteria or parasites to animals and humans. In France, the main human disease associated with ticks is Lyme disease. In the event of infection, a characteristic red "bull's eye" appears on the skin a few days after the bite, usually around the bite area, and spreads outwards in a circular pattern. Without treatment, the disease can cause skin, muscle, neurological and joint disorders that are sometimes highly disabling.

Certain precautions can be taken to avoid this risk:

  • use repellents, opting for those with marketing authorisation and complying with their conditions of use (all this information is given on the product's label, packaging and/or leaflet);
  • wear closed shoes and clothing that covers the body; light colours will help you more easily identify any ticks on the surface of the fabric;
  • avoid walking through long grass, bushes and low branches and keep to signposted paths;
  • inspect your body when returning from walks;
  • if you are bitten, remove the attached ticks immediately using a tick remover, fine tweezers or, failing that, your fingernails. Never use ether or any other similar product, and disinfect the wound;
  • monitor the bite area for several days and see your doctor if symptoms develop.

A quarter of tick bites occur in gardens

Although tick bites are usually associated with walks in woods and forests, this risk also exists in gardens, where 25% of tick bites occur. These data come from the Signalement Tique app, which was developed by INRAE and the Permanent centre for initiatives on the environment (CPIE) in Nancy-Champenoux, as part of the CiTIQUE participatory research programme, of which ANSES is a partner.

Volunteers needed for a tick hunt near Nancy

In order to determine the characteristics of the gardens most likely to harbour ticks, the CiTIQUE programme partners launched the TIQUoJARDIN project in 2021. A second tick collection campaign is being organised from 1 May to 10 July 2022 in a 30 km area around Nancy. If you would like to take part, please visit the project website.